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By Henning Mankell

This poignant novel explores how a unilateral selection can switch a life.Two issues are tough for Joel Gustafson to deal with: now not understanding why, and never with the ability to do whatever approximately it. Joel’s father was a sailor who lived by way 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 sneaking out evening after evening, searching for it. in the course of those nocturnal outings, Joel discovers elements of lifestyles 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 keeps to go looking for the puppy, he discovers his personal internal energy and learns approximately grownup disappointments and wishes.

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Sample text

Jenny. Samuel and Jenny and Joel Gustafson. If they'd been a family, that's what they'd have been called. Now they are just names that don't fit together. Joel thinks he must ask his father what really happened. Not now, not today, but some other day when there isn't an empty bottle on the kitchen table when he gets up to go to school. Not until his dad has given the kitchen a good scrubbing and everything has settled down. One of these nights when the kitchen has been cleaned up he'll be able to start talking to his father again.

He trudges home from school through the snow flurries. It's started to get dark already even though it's only early afternoon. I'm eleven years old now, he thought. One of these days I'll be an old man, and eventually I shall die. But by then I'll be a long way away from here, a long way away from all this snow and that Otto who can never keep his mouth shut. His nose is running, and he hurries on home. He collects a kilo of potatoes from Svenson's, the grocer's; a pack of butter and a loaf of bread.

Anton Wiberg has only one red bicycle. There are several of all the other models. He must make sure nobody gets there before him and buys the red bike. Joel pictures Otto in his mind's eye, coming towards him on the red bike. It's a horrible thought he would rather not entertain. The trouble is that Samuel always takes such a long time to make up his mind. When there is only one red bicycle, he has to get a move on. Joel takes one last look at the bike, then goes round to the back of the building for a pee.

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