Book Review – November 2016 – Sallie Eden

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald – Published by Vintage, 2016. First published in Sweden in 2013

readrrsIf you liked ‘A Man Called Ove’ you’re pretty certain to like this. Katarina Bivald’s writing has the same gentle rhythm and simple storytelling style as Fredrik Backman’s.

After losing her job in Sweden, Sara arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa, to spend two months with Amy, an elderly woman who shares her love of books. On arrival she discovers Amy has died, but the town (more broken down that Broken Wheel) is determined to look after Sara in the way Amy would have wished. But the story isn’t just about how and why the town cares for Sara, it’s about Sara caring for the town. And she comes to realise that the town needs a bookshop, even if they don’t know it.

Interestingly, at the time of writing, the author had never been to Iowa, but she had worked in a bookshop and, as she says, “when I first decided to include a bookshop … I thought it would be all about the books. But ….. I realised that what I remembered most from my years in a bookshop was not the books, but the people who passed through it”.

I read this book quickly because I really wanted to know what happened to the people and the bookshop. Now I want to read it all over again, this time to savour it.  It’s sad, happy, moving…an absolute gem.

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