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And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

BackmanWayHomeThis lovely novella is from the author of A Man Called Ove. At just 92 pages, Backman’s latest work is a sweet, read-in-one-sitting meditation on the mixed blessings of getting old. The author said that he wrote it as “a small tale of how I’m dealing with slowly losing the greatest minds I know, about missing someone who is still here, and how I wanted to explain it all to my children.”

Backman said that he wrote it for himself, explaining that writing is how he processes and thinks. He hadn’t originally intended to have the work published, but you will be glad that he did, as he again excels at portraying a slightly grumpy but charming elderly gentleman, not dissimilar to the beloved fictional Ove. The gentleman’s memory may be failing, but his personality is firmly intact as he talks of his sadness about losing his wife, and of his regret about not having spent more time with his son and grandson Noah. The grandfather in the story, when admonished that a stuffed animal in the shape of a dragon is not a suitable baby gift for his grandson replies, “I don’t want a suitable grandson, I want one who would like a dragon.” About his failing faculties, he muses, “I’m constantly reading a book with a missing page, and it is always the most important [page] to me.” It is a multi- generational story, connecting grandfather to father to son, and wherever you are in your life, you will find yourself somewhere in this book.

In a lesser author’s hands this could have been maudlin. In Fredrik Backman’s hands, it is lovely, poignant, and resonant. Small illustrations, including those of his wife’s favorite hyacinths, the bench where they courted, and that dragon stuffed animal add to the charm.

I am giving it to my 86-year-old mother and three adult children for Christmas. It will hit each of them in different place, and each of those places are important.

The author’s upcoming book, Beartown, is scheduled for publication in May, and you know I have already placed an order for it! 

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