Best book I have read in a while. Another one of those ludicrously accomplished first novels!
If I had to invoke other names, think John Irving or Gunter Grass.
I must admit, I have not finished it yet but over time I have come to realize that great books do not require great endings. I have read about three quarters of the book so far, and if it ended in a couple of pages, even if certain issues are unresolved, I would not change my opinion.
This is one of those wonderful quirky family sagas; one that takes place in Denmark and Norway and beginning just before the 2nd World War. Under the entertaining foibles of all concerned is the view into how the war was experienced in those countries. But content aside, the writing is superlative.
“God came last night to get your kitties,” Hans Carlo Peterson, the former proprietor of the frame shop, once said to his six-year-old daughter Leila as he patted her head to comfort her – using exactly the same hand which, the night before, had tossed his daughter’s seven kittens into a sack and drowned them in the creek behind the house. Leila, whose father had just given her a big ice-cream cone, noticed something bitter mixed in with the taste of the ice cream. Five years later her father came to get her from her aunts house and drove her down to the forest lake where he bought her the biggest cone the ice-cream stand had to offer. Then he said, ‘God came last night to get your mother,’ thus imparting to his daughter not only a great sorrow but also an unremitting loating for God and sweets.