The Seven Stairs

seven stairs cover image The Seven Stairs

by Stuart Brent
Touchstone, 1989
Paperback, 256 pages

A week or so ago a young woman came into the store and asked if we had known Stuart Brent. Well, no we hadn’t. So, who was he? He was her father (or, maybe, grandfather) and he had a place on Bark Point on the south shore of Lake Superior not far from here. And, he was the founder in 1946 of the Seven Stairs bookstore on Rush Street in Chicago. Interesting! She returned a few days later and handed us a copy of The Seven Stairs. Embarrassing! Little had we known that one of the great literary lights of the upper Midwest had been our neighbor. He had died here on his Bark Point place within days of the opening of our bookstore in 2010. This is the memoir of one of the most colorful and revered independent booksellers in the country. He knew them all – on the back cover of the book is a group photo of him with Studs Terkel, Robert Parrish, Stephen Spender, Jack Conroy and Nelson Algren! The subtitle is An Adventure of the Heart – a love affair with life and literature. We wish we had known him!