I got Crossroads by Hardit Singh as an e-book for free a little while ago, as I follow him om Twitter (@HarditSingh1). I’m always curious about new literature, and a short story like this was a nice break between everything else on my reading list.
Crossroads is the story about Robert, who on the day we meet him, has landed at Heathrow early. Instead of heading home, he has headed for a bar. There he meets the beautiful Elise. They soon find out that though they are strangers, they both find themselves in similar situations in their marriage. Together they make plans that will change their lives drastically…
Though this is a short and easy read, I really enjoyed it. Even though it touches something that could be heartbreaking and sad, it has a sense of humor. I found myself chuckle loudly more than once while reading it.
This book is, in short, a piece of art. There are two main characters in the book, and we follow each of their stories in two different ways: Ben, who recently lost his mother in an accident, we read about in the written part of the book, and Rose, the deaf girl, we follow in Brian Selznick’s beautiful illustrations.
In the beginning, the only thing the two characters seem to have in common is to have a different life. Ben lives with his aunt and uncle, and has to share bedroom with his cousin. Ben feels, in many ways, alienated from the rest of his family. He has only one ear that he can hear with, and has an interesting of collecting things, and for the stars.
One night Ben sees a light in his and his mother’s house, and goes over, to find one of his cousins wearing his mother’s clothes. This makes him angry and sad, and she apologies. Though she heads back to her parents’ house, he stays behind. Shortly after, a thunderstorms starts. He decides to stay a bit longer, in the hopes for the storm to ease, and he starts to go through some of his mother’s thing. He then finds something that gives him a clue on where to find his father, that he longs for, but has never known. One of the things he finds is a phone number, and he picks up the phone to try to give his dad a ring. As he does this, a lightning strikes, and he wakes up to find himself without the ability to hear at all. Even though Ben is now deaf, he refuses to give up on his father, now that he finally knows where to look, and on his own he sets out to try find him…
Rose is, as mentioned, deaf, and has been all her life. She scrapbooks everything she can find about a mysterious actress, and after a while she runs away from home to the big city to find her.
The two stories starts decades apart, but after a while they are woven into one. This is done in a wonderful way, and I must say I loved the book. The over 600 pages just flew, and the illustrations are so alive and vivid they tell more than a thousand words!
I also liked the fact that the main characters of the book can’t hear. Alas, there are not many books around with deaf people as the centre of the story. It’s interesting to see the world in a somewhat different perspective.
Though this probably would be seen as a children’s book, I have no problems recommending it to grown ups. The story has so many layers, and I’m sure we pick up things a kid probably will not. However, even though there might be elements kids miss out on, the story still works brilliantly. Maybe one of those books you could read together?
So, I have this YouTube channel. I entered a contest that CineRam had, and my prize was a video of my choice. I asked him to read and review one of my favourite science fiction books, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guinn. It’s a brilliant book, and CineRam made an excellent review for me:
Little Star is written by the very same author who is known from the book, and the film, Let the Right One In. I have read the book in its original language, Swedish, Lilla stjärna, which was released in 2010. The English version is due to be released 29 September 2011.
Little Star starts with the former pop singer Lennart Cederström, who one day finds something in the woods he not at all expected to: Half buried, in a plastic bag, a baby girl. Lennart gives her the kiss of life, and to his surprise, her first cry is a pure, musical note. He takes the baby back to his wife, and persuades her that they should keep this remarkable child. They hide her in a room in the cellar, and keep her secret from the outside world. The girl turns out to be a strange and disturbed. When she reaches puberty, a terrifying scene sees her kill both her parents. Her adopted brother, Jeremy, takes care of her, but she is still a scared and lonely girl.
Not far from Stockholm, another lonely and strange girl lives an unhappy life. Bullied by her fellow school mates, she finds comfort in poetry, trolling the Internet and learning about wolves. After a while, the two girls get in touch, and forms a special and scary friendship. They form a powerful bond and soon they do things most people wouldn’t even dream of doing.
Yet again Linqvist has managed to create a chilling story. It is at times grotesque, and is not for the faint hearted. Since I read it in Swedish, I don’t know how the translation will turn out, but I found it to be well written. At times he used some slang, but in the setting it was used, it worked very well.
There were parts of the books I almost felt like the need to turn away, as it wasn’t pretty, but I kept on reading. It gripped me from the very beginning, and I am already looking forward to read another book written by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
I first came across this in a book shop, and when I read the back it intrigued me. However, it was a Norwegian translation, and I generally prefer to read books in their original language, as long as I can read it. I ended up adding it to my bookcrossing wish list. Earlier this summer an Icelandic bookcrosser contacted me asking if I still wanted it, and it didn’t take long before the book arrived in my mailbox.
The book of tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern is about the 16-year-old Tamara Goodwin, whose father recently passed away. After discovering he had huge economical problems, he decided to commit suicide, and Tamara and her mother are forced to sell the house and move to their relatives in the Irish countryside. Tamara, who has lived all her life in Dublin, finds the countryside boring, but one day a traveling library arrives, and here she finds a book that will change her life forever.
When I first started reading this book, I must admit it was slightly boring. But I have a standing rule that I give a book at least a hundred pages before I give in on it, so I continued reading it. Besides, it had been a gift from a bookcrosser in Iceland, so I felt obliged to finish it. Fortunately, it did pick up after a while, and with all its intrigues and secrets it actually turned out to be rather exiting.
This was an easy read, and though it had more than four hundred pages, it didn’t take long to get through. I brought it along on my summer holidays, and it was the perfect read on the plane, at a café or on the beach.