By: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Atria Books
My Rating: 5 Stars ++
Best Novella of 2016
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.
“Isn’t that the best of all life’s ages, an old man thinks as he looks at his grandchild, when a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it.”
Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa’s work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden.
As they wait together on the bench, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her.
Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father—Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond.
Grandpa, Grandma, Ted, and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, the scent of hyacinths in the air, nothing to fear. This little book with a big message is certain to be treasured for generations to come.
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A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Love this book!!! 5 Stars +++
Fredrik Backman has created a unique brand, with his own genre and collection of quirky humorous characters, with light-hearted, and deeply moving stories. Fans are loving!
It all started with the sensational debut, A MAN CALLED OVE, now a film, recently released in the US, featured in the latest Oct 2016, New York Times . What an inspiring story! Still on the bestseller list.
I read the author's latest this weekend, AND EVERY MORNING THE WAY HOME GETS LONGER AND LONGER his first novella and was "Hooked!" My absolute favorite book thus far, and my “Favorite Novella of 2016”: I think this warrants its own hashtag #AEMTWHGLAL. A small book, Big on heart.
After reading the novella, had a "binge" Backman weekend, listening to audios of all the books I missed. I tend to start with the latest and work my way backward.
A story about TIME. A short, yet powerful story of fear and love, and how they seem to go hand in hand. Using the time wisely, we have, while we still have it. We know it is priceless, but sometimes we think there will be time to say and do everything we want to say. Sometimes, there is no time.
For anyone who has lost someone dear to them, or is losing someone to an illness, this book is for you! I cannot say enough about this book. A moving portrait of an elderly’s man struggling to hold on to precious memories. A family trying to cope with a way to let go.
Buy multiple copies. Give them away; perfect for gift giving: Christmas, holiday, and those who need uplifting, going through trying times with illness, loss, and their loved ones for guidance and understanding. A perfect size.
As the author mentions in his opening letter to the readers, this book was never meant for us to read. It was the author’s personal way to sort out his own thoughts on paper.
But it turned into a small tale of how he is dealing with slowly losing the greatest minds he knows and about missing someone who is still here and how he wanted to explain it to his children. He is letting it go.
We can only extend our deepest gratitude, and sincere "thank you" for sharing this intimate poignant story to your readers.
It is Grandpa, his grandson Noah and his dad Ned. An elderly man with dementia is slowly slipping away. He is hanging on to the memories. A family trying to make sense and come to grips with this tragedy.
The bridge which connects grandson and grandfather. The special bond. By doing so is a way to apologize to the children Their daily sharing on the bench--their love of mathematics and their jokes. He has lost his wife, and he tells Noah about their life together. He does not want to forget. They talk to her.
Ned, Noah’s dad sometimes sits on the bench, but he prefers writing and playing the guitar versus math. He is angry about grandpa’s illness.
The elderly man is slowly losing part of his memories. He is struggling to hold on; however, slowly slipping away. The fear of the unknowns. Getting old. Dying. Noah wants to understand. Mathematics always took them where they needed to go, but now this places lacks coordinates; there are no roads out, no maps lead here. Readers hear about his falling in love. She was a wise woman. He has so little time.
“Those who hasten to live are in a hurry to miss, she sometimes used to whisper to Noah, though he didn’t know what she meant before she was buried.
Noah is insightful. “I would rather be old than a grown-up. All grown-ups are angry, it’s just the children and old people who laugh.”
Grandpa: My memories are running away. “I’m constantly reading a book with a missing page, and it’s always the most important one.”
"Like constantly searching for something in your pockets. First, you lose the small things, then it’s the big ones. It starts with keys and ends with people."
“Sometimes I remember that I’ve forgotten. That’s the worst kind of forgetting. Like being locked out in a storm. Death is a slow drum. It counts every beat. We can’t haggle with it for more time.”
Noah: “But one good thing with your brain being sick, is that you’re going to be really good at keeping secrets. That’s a good thing if you’re a grandpa.” If you forget me, then you’ll just get the chance to get to know me again.
As the blurb states, “A small book with a BIG message.” So very true. This is a rare gem, you will treasure!.
On a personal note: As many of you are aware, I lost my mom recently in August after her three -year courageous battle with cancer, and see a lot of my dad (lost without mom), through the eyes/voice of the grandfather portrayed. Even though our loved ones have an illness, death is something no one wants to discuss. Until one day, there is no more time. Time is precious.
With an aunt currently suffering from Alzheimer’s; this powerful small book, will warm your heart and touch your soul. Everyone will recognize someone in their life that may be slipping away. This book can be of great comfort to those in times of turmoil and unrest.
I found myself reading the book, over and over and bookmarking so many pages. Beautifully written. In addition to the book copy, also purchased the audiobook, and David Morse narrator, delivered a captivating performance!
Looking forward to Beartown, coming May 2017 (Atria Books) a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.
Nov Top Reads
About the Author
Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer.
His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Read More