by: Fredrik Backman
Published by:Atria Books
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.
“Isn’t that the best of all life’s ages, an old man thinks as he looks at his grandchild, when a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it.”
Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa’s work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden.
As they wait together on the bench, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her.
Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father—Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond.
Grandpa, Grandma, Ted, and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, the scent of hyacinths in the air, nothing to fear. This little book with a big message is certain to be treasured for generations to come.
‘We lived an extraordinary ordinary life’
‘And Everyday the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer’ is a novella about the love one man has for his son, grandson, and wife. The man is slowly slipping into a state of memory loss. His greatest fear is that he will soon not remember any of his most beloved memories.
In a letter to the reader at the beginning of the story, Backman states,’This is a story about memories and letting go. It’s a love letter and a slow farewell between a man and his grandson, and between a dad and his boy.’ He also explains that writing this story was a type of therapy for him as he too has experience with a loved one with memory loss.
As I began to read this story, I soon realized that this is both a similar and different type of story to Backman’s other works. It is similar in that it portrays an older person and their relationships. It is different in that the story line is not as straight forward as other Backman’s works.
The story is told through the perspective of the grandfather who is sinking deeper into dementia. It switches between the grandfather speaking with his grandson, Noah, his son,Ted, and his wife who had previously passed away. His thought process is scattered but at the same time deeply symbolic. He likens his brain to a park square that gets smaller and smaller each day and the ‘way home’ is his process to remember details of his life each morning. He then explains that the objects in the park symbolize different memories.
Although this was less of an easy read then I found Backman’s other books, to be, this book is just as amazing. It gives an honest look at how hard and complicated it must be to lose someone you love before they actually die. Backman does a wonderful job of panting a picture of someones mind as they are mentally slipping away.
Another amazing read from Backman and a quick read as it’s only ninety-six pages. Backman has an amazing gift for writing characters that I makes me feel that I know them personally. This is one of those books that is a must read for all.