Title: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ☕☕☕☕ ☕ (5/5)
Content Warnings: descent to illness , grief, abandonment (recalled), death of a loved one (recalled)
Is it weird that I always want to hug a Fredrik Backman book for a long time after I finish it? Granted it may not be applicable in this case because I listened to this in audiobook while reading a digital copy… but And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is another such book. Fredrik Backman managed to tear my heart to pieces again and paste it back together, all in a breadth of not even more than a hundred pages.
This is a story about memories and about letting go. It’s a love letter and a slow farewell between a man and his grandson, and between a dad and his boy.
And Every Morning provided a glimpse into the mind of an old man who is slowly losing his memories all the while trying to explain to his grandson that he would be “leaving him even before [he] dies”.
These days, very few authors have managed to make me consistently emotional and invested in books that tackle very humane experiences – and Fredrick Backman is one of those. I honestly thought Anxious People was a one-off since it deals with topics that are too close home personally… but And Every Morning, tackling something far removed from my experience, still affected me all the same. This might not stick after a long time but I don’t want to forget the emotion I felt when I was reading this. This is the sort of book that you might want to go back to in case you find yourself in a similar situation because you just want company in your feelings and to be with something that understands.
“When your feet touch the ground, I’ll be in space, my dear Noahnoah.”
There are so few chapters and the shifts in POV are sometimes drastic – but the style of storytelling is signature Backman. I guess it could’ve worked better if it’s a longer piece of writing – but once I got into it, it’s not something that I minded that much. There is a specific cadence in writing that really hooks me in – and Fredrik Backman’s style is something I definitely would get behind. I’ve read two of his works so far and the flow in his books really made me happy every time. This is a translated work (by the fabulous Alice Menzies) and I’m so happy that translation didn’t make it lose character (because in some cases, the text would sound unfeeling). I can’t seem to shake the feeling that reading this felt like trespassing into one’s thoughts. In Backman’s foreword, he mentioned how he never meant for anyone to read this as he wrote this mainly to sort out his own thoughts. I’m not sure how closely tied to real-life this is but I find writing as a means of self-understanding really beautiful – and oftentimes, this is when writers produce their best works.
Anyway, I’ve shared my fair share of opinions about this book. Listening to this (at 3 in the morning) has been a very contemplative and deeply emotional affair. I needed to collect myself after I finished it – but it was oh so worth it.
“I’m constantly reading a book with a missing page, and it’s always the most important one.”
“It hurts less and less. That’s one good thing about forgetting things. You forget the things that hurt too.”
“Death isn’t fair.” “No, death is a slow drum. It counts every beat. We can’t haggle with it for more time.”
“Live your life. It’s an awful thing to miss someone who’s still here.“
About the Author
Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World, his first work of non-fiction, will be released in the US in May 2019. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.