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El misteri de nadal by Jostein Gaarder
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El misteri de nadal (original 1992; edition 1997)

by Jostein Gaarder

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887219,972 (3.42)42
Member:mcuquet
Title:El misteri de nadal
Authors:Jostein Gaarder
Info:Barcelona : Editorial Empúries , 1997
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*
Tags:lang:ca, Literatura noruega, autors noruecs, Novel·la, Segle XX

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The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (Author) (1992)

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» See also 42 mentions

English (20)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This is an odd one to review, because... well, nothing Gaarder writes is ever simple, is it? It's a story within a story, an advent calendar within an advent calendar. A little boy called Joachim finds a handmade advent calendar in an old bookshop and takes it home. Every day when he opens the next door a folded piece of paper falls out, slowly telling the story of a little girl called Elisabet who runs away from a department store in the late 40s and ends up on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Each day the pilgrims, including shepherds, angels, sheep and the three Kings of Orient, run across countries - and across time - adding new figures to their ranks as they go, with the aim of reaching Bethlehem at the time of Jesus's birth. At the same time, there's an ongoing mystery about a grown-up Elisabet who's ALSO missing... Suffice to say that in classic Gaarder style, all is sort-of cleared up by the end, with a whopping side helping of BUT MAYBE...??

As you may know, I'm not remotely religious, but my Decembers at school as a kid were filled with nativity scenes and carols and colouring in pictures of the Three Wise Men, just like every other child, so I was mostly able to overlook the occasional heavy-handed religious moment and focus on the themes of peace and goodwill and general festivity. The arrival of an exuberant and rather unorthodox cherub called Impuriel definitely helped, as well as the fact that the chapters are short - about 7-11 pages - so it never got overwhelming. It became a lovely morning ritual throughout December, reading that day's chapter over breakfast, opening my own advent calendar at the same time as Joachim opened his! ( )
  elliepotten | Jan 15, 2014 |
While shopping for an Advent calendar in a Norwegian town, a young boy and his father discover a one-of-a-kind calendar in a bookshop. Joachim looks forward to opening each day's door to learn more about a little girl, Elisabet, and her companions who are on a journey across Europe and backwards through time to be present at Christ's birth in Bethlehem.

I easily read this book in a single day, but I think it would be more pleasurable to read a chapter a day throughout December leading up to Christmas. Some of the chapters become repetitive, a useful feature if you're reading the book over a 3 ½ week period but a flaw if you're reading it in a short period of time. Besides its obvious use for religious instruction during Advent, this book could also be used to introduce children to some of the events and key figures in European history. ( )
  cbl_tn | Dec 17, 2013 |
This book is best read as an Advent calendar: start it on December 1st and enjoy a chapter of this journey through "a stack of pancakes" one day at a time. ( )
  JenMDB | Dec 16, 2013 |
Told in 24 short chapters which are each assigned a date from 1st – 24th December, this book was apparently designed to be read like an advent calendar, with the appropriate chapter being read on the specific date.

On 1st December, a young boy named Joachim is given an unusual advent calendar, and behind each door contains a chapter of a story. As the story unfolds, Joachim (and his parents) learn about a young girl named Elisabet who disappeared from Norway years earlier, and a pilgrimage of angels, shepherds and wise men who travel across land and time, to be present when Jesus was born.

Unfortunately, I did not particularly enjoy this book. Although I am not religious, I can enjoy reading books about religion, but I felt that this particular story was preachy and sanctimonious. Also, while it might be considered a magical tale of a pilgrimage, it could equally be seen as the story of a young girl who was tempted away from her mother by a cute animal, and led away with an angel who promised to look after her, but instead took her away from her home, and left her mother wondering for years about what had happened to her daughter. (Which to me anyway, sounds a bit sinister.)

I do think the idea was quite a good one, because it could be a useful tool for learning about the history of certain places, but I just couldn’t connect with it at all. There was no characterisation – I didn’t know Joachim or his parents any better by the last page than I did on the first page, and I felt the same way about Elisabet. The writing just seemed too simplistic, and the story was also somewhat repetitive, and the ending was – possibly deliberately – a bit unclear.

I should add that I have only read one other book by this author, and I didn’t enjoy that either. Plenty of reviewers have loved this book, so it may just be that I am not the right reader for Jostein Gaarder. I wanted to enjoy this, particularly reading it at Christmas time, but sadly, was just not able to. ( )
  Ruth72 | Dec 10, 2013 |
Finished the last chapter on Christmas Eve. A story of a lyoung girl who goes back in time to see the Christ child born in Bethlehem and the young boy who follows her adventures via a magical Advent Calander. ( )
  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaarder, JosteinAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rokkan, ElizabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wells, RosemaryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0753808668, Paperback)

Fifty years ago a girl disappeared from her home in Norway. She ran after a lamb and found herself travelling right across Europe to Palestine, and back through 2000 years to meet the Holy Family in Bethlehem. There she met angels, shepherds, wise men and other biblical characters who joined her on her pilgrimage; and she heard of many of the things that happened in the world in the last 2000 years. In present-day Norway, a boy acquires a strange old Advent calendar. Hidden in each of the windows is a tiny piece of paper. Little by little these pieces unfold the girl's story and as we learn what happened to her, another story is revealed - that of the strange old man who made the calender.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A startlingly original presentation of the Nativity story, woven into an enthralling and mysterious novel.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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