Tuesday, 2 May 2017

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My mom was raving about A Man Called Ove, but the title never grabbed me and Ove sounds too bitter. Instead, she talked me into borrowing another Fredrik Backman novel with a reportedly similar format, one whose protagonist sounded more my type.

That protagonist is Elsa, an "almost-eight-year-old" as the present-tense, third-person limited narration puts it. (Think I used enough hyphens?) Early in the story, she loses her grandmother, whom she considers her only friend, to cancer. But Granny has one last treasure hunt in store; it involves finding and delivering letters of apology to everyone who lives in their building. In the process, Elsa learns a lot more about her and them, with valuable information unfolding like a mystery. She'd actually heard much of it before, in the guise of fairy tales....

More details )

After the story come two things I've never seen before outside of a textbook: a set of questions for discussion and a few suggestions to "enhance your book club." I doubt I'll take advantage of either, but it might be good to put these features in more books.

For obvious reasons, I have now picked up Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This also is borrowed from my mom. So far, it's...different.


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Stephen Gilberg

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