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372 pages, Hardcover
First published September 4, 2013
... 'Storytelling is the noblest profession of all. The currency there is imagination; instead of buying something with coins you buy it with a good story. Libraries aren’t known as libraries but as ‘banks’ and every fairy tale is worth a fortune.'That was what grandma believed. Who was Elsa to disagree.
"A normal story can either be funny or sad or exciting or scary or dramatic or sentimental, but a Christmas tale has to be all those things.Granny's fairy tales from Miamas was fairly dramatic as a rule. Wars and storms an pursuits and intrigues and stuff, because that was the sort of action stories that Granny liked.
“A Christmas tale has to be written with every pen you own,” Granny used to say. And they have to have happy endings, which is something that Elsa has decided completely on her own."
Miploris. That’s where all the sorrow is stored. It means “I mourn.”
“Dance. I dance.”
"The mightiest power of death is not that it can make people die, but that it can make the people left behind want to stop living"…However, grandma taught Elsa that life does not really end with the passing of a beloved.
"You never say good-bye in the Land-of-Almost-Awake. You just say “See you later.” It’s important to people in the Land-of-Almost-Awake that it should be this way, because they believe that nothing really ever completely dies. It just turns into a story, undergoes a little shift in grammar, changes tense from “now” to “then.”She left a set of letters behind which would merged Elsa's two worlds. She would be introduced to the real people who were characters in the fairy tales, and who would open up a big world of possibilities to the seven-year-old heartbroken little girl.
……We want to be loved,’ ” quotes Britt-Marie. “‘Failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. The soul abhors a vacuum. At all costs it longs for contact.’ ” ....Grandma's letters turned the building and its inhabitants upside down. Life was changed for all of them.
"I want someone to remember I existed. I want someone to know I was here.”
Never mess with someone who has more spare time than you do.
Its strange how close love and fear live to each other.It appears as if Backman leaned on many a poles and watched people battle their demons in routine life - just how some transformed into the fiercest warriors under chaotic spells but were sorely defeated by the toothless, simple, predictable plateau of life. And why everyone, irrespective of their positions on the axis of life, needed attention.
We want to be loved; failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs, we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. Our soul abhors a vacuum.The strength of Backman's narrative rests on his seamless switching between hilarity and sombreness, keeping the sensibilities of his characters away from dilution. So when a child and a war soldier look at the same issue and engage in a long discussion, their respective identities and backgrounds stand beside them like faithful sentries. That both can still reach a common ground is the beauty of this book.