Monday, January 16, 2006

A Bridge to the Stars

I spent a year reading Henning Mankell's chilly, dark mysteries one by one. Though I've never actually been to Sweden, after that year I felt like I knew Mankell's neck of the woods well. So, when I found out his young adult novel, A Bridge to the Stars, had been translated and published in English, I had to have it.

Mankell wrote A Bridge to the Stars in 1990 and Andersen Press published it in October, 2005 (London. I had to order it through a distributor.)

A Bridge to the Stars is vintage Mankell. But this novel's hero is an eleven-year-old boy named Joel Gustafson, not a grumpy, yet oddly compelling detective in the throes of a mid-life crisis (Kurt Wallender). And, there's not much of a real mystery in A Bridge to the Stars, but rather an imagined one. Joel begins sneaking out into the icy night in search of a dog--a dog he saw heading towards a star. In the process of his nighttime wanderings Joel discovers much about himself, his father, and his isolated town.

A Bridge to the Stars is a classic coming-of-age tale aimed at the young-adult market. A highly recommended, atmospheric read.