Dear Fellow Reader,
This week’s book got me thinking about styles of writing. It seems to me that the books I have read written by authors from the Netherlands have a different style to them, but they are similar to each other. I’m thinking of books like A Man Called Ove, The 100-Year-Old Man, and Hotel Silence. I don’t know if all books from that area are similar or if it just so happens that the ones I have read have the same sort of humor and cadence.
And here is that sentence that I appear to be obligated to put into reviews for books I am given. I was given a copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased opinion. Are you as sick of reading that as I am?
What You Can See from Here was written by a German woman and is being released in the U.S. as a translation. The style of the book greatly reminds me of the books I mentioned in the previous paragraph The book will be released on June 22, 2021. Since the chance that I will forget the plot of the book by then is high, I am writing this review a bit early.
The book opens by telling the story of 10-year-old Luisa. Luisa’s Grandmother, Selma, has dreamed of an Okapi. That indicates to the villagers that someone is going to die. We meet the villagers by finding out their reactions to the bad omen. Luisa and her friend Martin roam the village and spend most of their time together. The village has a host of off beat characters that help move the story along. Everyone relaxes when no one dies in the 24 hours after Selma had her dream. But then tragedy strikes and the death affects all the characters. One of the principal characters is only known as “the Optician”. He loves Selma but had never told her. He is with her every day and has helped teaching Martin and Luisa things like tying their shoes and how to tell time. Luisa’s mother owns a florist shop and spends most of her time trying to decide if she should leave Luisa’s father. Luisa’s father is a doctor but he is unsettled. Selma and the Optician are the most stable forces in Luisa and Martin’s lives. The story follows Luisa from the age of 10 until the age of 35.
I enjoyed the book. There are times that you can tell it is a translation because the wording isn’t quite right, but that is occasional, and it doesn’t take away from the story. I was reading the book on the Kindle app. When reading an eBook, you don’t know how long the book is. It seemed to me that it moved a bit slowly at first but then I got in the rhythm of it and it took off.
Thanks for reading.