Review of Us Against You

Us Against You: A Novel (Beartown) by [Backman, Fredrik]

Us Against You

Fredrik Backman

Atria Books

June 5, 2018

Blurb from Amazon

Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did.
Have you ever seen a town rise? Ours did that, too. 

A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don’t expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they’ve always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it’s a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback. Continue reading


Review of Beartown



Fredrik Backman

April 25, 2017

Atria Books

Blurb from Goodreads: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Continue reading

The Viking Pillage Village


© A Mixed Bag

I am beyond late. But it was written when it was not quite Sunday in the US although by time I get done with my verbosity it will be Sunday.

Thank you to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction as always for providing this prompt! To read more stories for this prompt, click here. The original prompt is here.

The Viking Pillage Village

Thanks, The History Channel. Ever since you aired The Vikings life around here has altered.

Erik and his Scandinavian friends built a Viking boat in the back yard. It’s become a great attraction for the neighborhood kids during the day and a weird man cave at night.

These six robust gentlemen from Norway and Sweden sit on the boat drinking beer and debate over what they should pillage.

Dagmar and I sit and watch the men who by day are scientists and accountants.

Erik yells, “More beer, wench.”

Dagmar hides a grin behind her hand.

I frown at her. “Bjorn hasn’t started doing this?”

“Are you kidding? If he spoke to me like that, he’d be cooking his own meals. It’s because you’re American. You’ve been colonized,” she says. She laughs as if this is the most hysterically funny thing she’s ever heard.

I shake my head, sit back down in my chair, and wait, wondering what Erik will do if beer service is discontinued.

He climbs out of the boat, ambles toward the house, his face wary. I grin.

“Pillage the fridge,” I say. He kisses me open-mouthed. “You can pillage other things later.”

end 4/16/2017

S. Darlington

Review of And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer



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

Atria Books

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.

From Amazon: And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

rating: butterflybutterflybutterflybutterflybutterfly (5 out of 5 butterflies and any extra that I have)


Review of The Invoice


The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson

Translated from Swedish by Neil Smith

Publication Date: July 12, 2016

Publisher: Hogarth Books

A world organization, W.R.D., has just sent out invoices charging people for their life experiences. The hero of The Invoice receives his and quickly spins through a plethora of emotions and reactions because it is so very much, so much more than his friend, Roger.

How is this possible? He calls the support line for W.R.D. and waits a very long time to talk to someone, a pleasant woman named Maud.

Our hero begins to review his life. He’s seemingly done so little, has so little, that the amount of the invoice doesn’t seem justified at all.

The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson is a quick reading, optimistic novel about a man who, even if he’s unaware of it, finds joy in small things and extends that joy to those he encounters. It’s about being mindful and delighted, even in the rain, or especially in the rain. It’s thought-provoking and insightful and a pleasure to read. How nice to not be inundated with cynicism! The Invoice is philosophical, but easy philosophy, with a sugary coating.

I doubt The Invoice is everyone’s cup of tea, but if you fancy a novel in which a hero explores his experiences, which will then have you exploring your own and wondering if you achieve the same kind of satisfaction, I think you will find pleasure in devoting a few hours to this book.

I received a copy of The Invoice from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

rating: butterflybutterflybutterflybutterflybutterfly(5 out of 5 butterflies)