A Bridge to the Stars by Henning Mankell

By Henning Mankell

This poignant novel explores how a unilateral selection can swap a life.Two issues are tough for Joel Gustafson to deal with: no longer understanding why, and never having the ability to do whatever approximately it. Joel’s father used to be a sailor who lived by means of the ocean. Joel’s mom as soon as lived with them. Joel’s father deserted the ocean. Joel’s mom deserted Joel and his father. whereas searching his window one evening, Joel sees a lonely puppy in the street. Joel spots the animal back and starts off sneaking out evening after evening, searching for it. in the course of those nocturnal outings, Joel discovers elements of existence he hasn't ever imagined. after which one evening he discovers that his father’s mattress, too, is empty.As Joel investigates his father’s mysterious absences and maintains to go looking for the puppy, he discovers his personal internal power and learns approximately grownup disappointments and wishes.

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Sample text

Joel cowers down in the snow like a scared rabbit, not taking his eyes off the unknown boy for a moment. There is a clattering noise from up on the bridge. The gates close and a goods train comes chugging along through the trees. The smoke from the engine's chimney puffs up into the sky, as if it's the trees that are breathing. The unknown boy aims his telescope at the train. Joel can see that he's about his own age. Possibly slightly older. Instead of a woolly hat he's wearing a peaked cap with ear flaps.

He takes a short cut through Bodin's timber yard, and hears all the squeaking and whistling from the saws. Then he slides along the ice that always forms in the spring on the hill down towards the bakery. Once he's passed the bakery there's only the long slope down to the riverbank left. The snow is deep there, and he has to trudge through it. Once he's come that far, he suddenly finds it easier to use his imagination. It's not so difficult once all the buildings and people have been left behind.

He's the only one. The only person he knows who doesn't have a mother. Being the only one can often be a good thing. Being the only one with a model aeroplane made of balsa wood, or having a bike with a steel-studded tyre on the back wheel. But being the only one without a mother is a bad thing. It's worse than wearing glasses. It's even worse than stuttering. Being without a mother is the worst thing there is. The only mum allowed not to be there is a mum who's died. He sometimes thinks he will give that answer when somebody asks, or is taunting him.

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