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tesscatburton

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The Orange Girl - Jostein Gaarder When I was 14 I read Jostein Gaarder's "Sophie's World". It quickly became one of my all-time favourite books and even inspired a theatre piece I wrote in my third year of university. Eight years later, I have finally read another of Gaarder's books and it was wonderful to rediscover his brilliant writing style.The Orange Girl is a short novella of only 150 pages, so I was easily able to devour the whole book in one sitting. Just like in "Sophie's World", there is a mystery to be solved and the book is narrated by two different characters. Georg, 15, has received a long letter from his late father, Jan, who tells him the story of the Orange Girl and how she affected his life.Gaarder does a good job of giving the two characters two different 'voices'. Georg, as a teenager who isn't particularly interested in literature, has a simple and sometimes irritating narrative style that reflects his youth and slight ignorance about the world. Jan, who is older and fancies himself a writer, is fascinating and a remarkable story-teller. He not only tells his son about the Orange Girl and the whole story surrounding her, but goes into immense detail about his thought processes. I especially loved his paragraphs speculating about who she is. They were so entertaining! In my own writing I do a lot of that kind of thing, and have always been worried it would be considered 'waffling' and readers would be annoyed by it. But I love that kind of thing - to me it is one of the best kinds of characterization. If Jostein Gaarder does it, then so shall I!The mystery of the Orange Girl is not a difficult one to figure out, but you fall in love with the characters through the mystery and suspense of it all. I was less interested with Georg's story, but he has a role to play too, and the story is so much more meaningful when you consider that he is reading a story from his late father.Jostein Gaarder had me hooked again in this book and, as always, leaves us with the moral of the story:"Nature is a miracle, the world is a fairytale, and life is a lottery in which only the winning tickets are shown. And if you are reading this then you have a winning ticket, lucky you!" (And also, stalking is fucking romantic.)