In many ways, this felt reminiscent of Up- minus the balloons of course. The crotchety old man at the core, the surprise friendships and the life purpose to pursue… though admittedly this is a far less jaunty goal and deals with some adult themes.
Still, even as this lurches into bleak territory, Backman’s light touch kept me steady and I ultimately found it an uplifting story. Not that it didn’t have its tearful moments- I went on quite the journey of emotions here: from chuckles to getting all watery-eyed to squee’ing with glee by the end (what can I say, I’m a big softie at heart 😉 )
I will admit to being a bit on edge after my experience with Beartown, expecting another political sneak attack- fortunately however the villainous Authorities were mercifully unrooted in political ideology- which only served to make them more chilling (frankly, who isn’t bothered by faceless government agencies stomping on an individual’s freedom?). Fortunately, this ended up being a definite success and more than delivered on the promise of being a charming, heart-warming tale.
Above all, I adored the characters, especially Parvanah (I love how her name means “butterfly” and how much that both clashes with her personality and emphasises her brightness). And I do love how every single character was fleshed out- even the cat!
It was beautifully written. I especially thought the brief and effective use of ALL CAPS was brilliant- since that’s rarely done well. I did appreciate the blend of flashbacks as well. The one criticism I did have was that for such a short book, it took forever. While I did love it, the pacing was v e r y s l o w.
Don’t let that put you off though! Maybe just read it when you’re more in the mood for something with a luxuriant pace.
So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comment!