The Red Address Book belongs to a dying nonagenarian and is one of the most pleasant feature of the story, as it structures the chapters by important people in her life (almost all of them no longer with us). And what a life she has led! It includes two childbed deaths, a suicide, several orphans, a tragically lost love, a miraculous survival from a bombed military ship during WWII, a dead baby, a crazy French woman, a rape, sexual assault, and more, much more. If you can believe all the tragedies and lucky coincidences, you will love the book, as it’s told in a cheerful and engaging way.
I just could not believe.
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules is languishing in retirement home that is going downhill when she decides that she and her friends should seek adventures elsewhere. They choose crime and fool everyone through a combination of fastidious preparation and the invisibility of seniors. It’s funny and light and if you have not had your fill of the old-people-can-do-anything fiction wave, you will like the story.
If you are tired of all the books telling you that the French do everything better, here’s one about how you should really look to the Swedes. The author is a Brit married to a Swede and in Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life she sets out to share the Swedish lifestyle and how we, too, can transform our lives by, basically, throwing away all our stuff, getting up early, and aiming for small, calm celebrations. Not exactly the American way, but certainly looks enticing and photogenic.
Fasten your seatbelt. After a starkly violent first chapter, The Father: Made in Sweden, Part I takes us on an epic story of three brothers, raised by an abusive father and a loving but ultimately powerless mother, design and carry out a string of audacious bank heists. As the story unfolds their past is revealed, as is that of the police detective investigating the crimes, and we understand their strong bonds as brothers that protected them growing up and endanger them now.
Interestingly, “Anton Svensson” is a pseudonym for two authors working together. They sure can concoct a powerful story. And this is only part 1…
Perhaps you read Britt-Marie Was Here, lauded here a couple of months ago. And if you did, and liked it, you will undoubtedly love A Man Called Ove. For everyone else, A Man Called Ove stars a grumpy, fussy, lonely old man who misses his dead wife so much that he spends the first many chapters trying to commit suicide, in a completely controlled, preplanned, unobtrusive manner, as befits his style. But life intervenes as his new neighbors need help backing up their moving trailer without destroying his house, an old friend needs help escaping from the clutches of the social services, a young man needs help when his dad throws him out, and many people need rides to the hospital. The story flashes back movingly to his hard life while he grudgingly, but dutifully helps everyone and eventually finds a warm circle of friends.
A touching and comforting story if you need reassurance that our fellow human beings are mostly good.
In the spirit of the 100-Year Old Man Who Jumped Out of the Window, Britt-Marie Was Here is the apparently simple story of an apparently simple woman who transforms her life after walking away from her cheating husband and his controlling way. But unlike the 100-year old man, Britt-Marie encounters no gangs or elephants, just a bunch of kids in an economically depressed small town who love soccer and would love nothing more than a proper field. She will save the day, but slowly, never giving up her OCD ways, and never succumbing to an easy happy-ever-after ending. Lovely.
The heroine of The Other Woman is a temporary confused young adult working in a hospital cafeteria, where she meets a married doctor and embarks on an obviously dodgy affair. The book explores her curiously sophisticated analysis of the situation, and the ending is a breath of fresh air. Nicely done.