Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny—her American grandniece, and her only relative—give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.
When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colorful past—working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War—can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?
A charming novel that prompts reflection on the stories we all should carry to the next generation, and the surprises in life that can await even the oldest among us, The Red Address Book introduces Sofia Lundberg as a wise—and irresistible—storyteller.
*I received a free copy from the publisher and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*
This is one of those books that give you a feel good feeling after reading it, but also make you think a bit.
We meet Doris, who is 96 years old and very lonely except the Skype calls with her (grandniece) , throughout the book we learn long with Jenny Doris’s past and what all she life has dealt her.
All the people she met in her life and what and how big of an impact on her life that had.
The book heartwarming, but very emotional all over. Happy and sad, the good, the bad and even the ugly side of her life is laid out, all with the ups and downs.
I loved the writing, it just kept you glued and engaged to the story until the very last pages.
I really enjoyed how it all came together in the end.
Overall I really enjoyed this quick but fun and heartwarming book.
I rate it 4 ★
Will be available January 8, 2019.
I'll bend my rule about posting reviews for unreleased books as this 'The Red Address Book' has had considerable success in Europe even if the American edition won't be released for some time.
Sofia Lundberg's novel follows 96-year-old Doris as she remembers the people who have come and gone in her life, all of the crossed out names in the address book given to her by her father on her last birthday at home. Her only living relative is a grand niece Jennifer and Jennifer's children in America and Doris depends on their weekly Skype calls.
I can't say how accurate of a translation this is, but it read smoothly and had a light, easy to read style throughout. Doris is an independent woman, but a recent injury has left her vulnerable and the indignities attached to being dependent on visiting nurses and facing pressure to give up her home are well illustrated.
The novel picks up steam as the narrative picks out a few key people in Doris' address book - a book full of names, the majority of which are crossed out and marked 'deceased'. The conceit of the address book is a good one, but many readers will have problems with how, er, eventful Doris' life turns out to be. It isn't enough that she's lived a long life and taken care of loved ones, she has lived more than anyone else has ever in the history of living. The events of her life become more far-fetched as the story goes on.
You may be looking at my high rating. The book can be problematic, narratively and with some objectionable plot elements, but I was willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy the story even with its issues. Sappy, but satisfying.