Best for: Anyone who likes a little whimsy in their storytelling
In a nutshell: Almost-eight-year-old Elsa’s grandmother has died, and sent Elsa on a treasure hunt.
Line that sticks with me: “You’d quickly run out of people if you had to disqualify all those who at some point have been shits.” (p 315)
Why I chose it: I enjoyed “A Man Called Ove” very much, and when I purchased it the bookseller said this one is even better.
Review: This book is a lovely look at grief, and the stories we tell ourselves and others. It is not what I expected, but it is even better.
Elsa is almost eight, and her only real friend is Granny, her mother’s mother. Granny smokes and eats cinnamon buns and takes Elsa on adventures, much to the chagrin (so it seems) of Elsa’s mum. Granny and Elsa share a world of fairy tales that span the six kingdoms. Then Granny dies, and Elsa finds herself with a letter to deliver on her Granny’s behalf. Which leads to another letter, and another.
Meanwhile, Elsa and her Mum and stepdad live in a house with multiple apartments, apartments that contain their own stories that might appear to be one thing but are revealed as another. I don’t want to share too much because part of the magic, I think, is in the discovery.
As I said, I didn’t expect this book to be so tied with a land of make-believe, but I’m glad I didn’t realize that because I might not have picked it up. Instead I was treated to a story that I literally did not put down except for a mid-afternoon walk and a dinner-time movie. It took probably six hours to read and I loved every minute. I squealed, I felt punched in the gut, I cried.
Mr. Backman is a deeply talented storyteller, and now I need to go pick up his next book.