November 1, 2016
Earlier this year I provided reviews on two Fredrik Backman novels: A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here. The very first book of the year I read, but didn’t offer a review here was: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. And, with And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, I have bookended my year with Fredrick Backman.
I started reading this novella in public yesterday morning and then hastily stopped as my eyes filled with tears and since I was in public and had mascara on, well, let’s just say that I thought it best to wait to read until I was alone and had tissues.
And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is a generational story about a grandfather, his son, Ted, and then grandson, Noah. Noah and his grandfather both love numbers. They understand each other as only two like souls can understand each other. As the story unfolds, we come to learn that the grandfather is suffering from Alzheimer’s. The title describes the passage the grandfather’s mind must take to the present. Noah is wise beyond his years. While the interactions between Noah and his grandfather remind me of Elsa and her grandmother from Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, I find here the relationship is one of grace, purity of spirit. It is an embodiment of all the good in human beings without overtones of religion.
And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer touches on the fear of growing old and death, the losing of the capacity for thinking when it has been your raison d’etre, but it also embraces love in all of its forms from the wife already lost, to the son who has been sometimes made to feel missing, to the grandson who is hope.
Obviously my tears prove that this one pulls at your heart-strings, but the source is truth rather than the schmaltz that many contemporary writers draw upon to make the reader feel.
If you are a lover of poetry and language as I am, stepping into Backman’s world is the loveliest of dreams, where words are like drifting on a lake on a hot summer afternoon; they draw you in and mesmerize you. If you are like me, you will be touched by reading this beautiful story of life and will be thinking about it long after you’ve closed the cover.
Highly recommended. I am making it my “best read of the year.”
I received an ARC from Atria and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
rating: (5 out of 5 butterflies and any extra that I have)