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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Through a Glass, Darkly
by Jostein Gaarder
Age Range: 12+
‘You see everything in a glass, darkly’ Ariel explains to Cecilia, as she lies ill in
bed on Christmas Eve. Her family are valiantly making their Christmas preparations
in the knowledge that Cecilia is not going to get better. Ariel is an angel and
this is the first of many visits to Cecilia. He tells her that the whole of creation is a
looking glass and the whole world is a mystery. As the weeks pass, through her
philosophical discussions with Ariel, Cecilia’s mood swings between anger and
denial, hope and despair. Ariel points out to her that humans come and go, ‘you
are the ones who don’t last . . . It’s as if God is blowing bubbles with you’. Finally, she reaches a calm acceptance of her lot and prepares to leave.
This is another original and moving story by Jostein Gaarder, which explores the great mystery of life and death. It has a depth and simplicity that deals with a difficult subject in a thought-provoking way.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)