Waiting for the Bird – Frode Grytten

Norwegian title: Vente på fuglen

Hello book friends!

I’ve finished a book filled with micro novellas this time and I have to say it was a pleasant exchange from what I normally read. Due to the shortness of the novellas, it was a fairly quick read. The synopsis is translated by me.

Birth. Death. Sorrow. Happiness. Love. Cheating. A sagging stomach. Trophy wives. Bachelors. August evenings. Sunday walks.

Frode Grytten shows that it is possible to write super short about the major things in life. In 140 characters only, he tells us about how we live, love and breaks.

Waiting for the Bird took some getting used to due to the shortness of the novellas. At first, I thought there was a connection between all of them, but I discovered after about 30 pages that it couldn’t be a connection because there was no red thread connecting the novellas. The novellas were sort of all over the place, which was the point in order to portray the different aspects of our lives. I had to ask one of my book blogging friends about it to make sure, haha.

When I got used to the writing I was able to truly enjoy these micro novellas. Some of them I could relate to personally while others I was able to relate to through stories friends and family have told me. For example, I don’t have children yet, but my best girlfriend does. She has two daughters and she tells me stories from their everyday life which is pretty different from my own but due to her stories, I was able to relate to some of the more family tuned novellas within this book. Some of the micro novellas are quite deep which makes you sit and ponder the specific situation presented within these 140 characters Grytten has formulated to perfection. I’ll translate my three favourite novellas below. I laughed pretty good at number 2!

  1. It requires strength to be gentle and kind. Mothers do everything for everyone. Mothers hear the heartbeat. Mothers know how every heart within the house beats.
  1. Trophy wife is celebrating her birthday. Body like she’s twenty. Grumpy like she’s seventy. Consumption like she’s forty. Sense like she’s twelve. Age unknown.
  1. 21:05 These 21:22 blank 21:45 rainy 22:17 tracks 22:57 which 23:19 once 23:45 upon 00:12 a time 01:05 brought 02:04 me 02:57 to 03:05 you.

Waiting for the Bird is the kind of book that gives its readers a very individual reading experience and I think that is my favourite thing about this book. Every micro novella will mean something different to each person reading it because we all carry different experiences and stories with us. I had a few I couldn’t relate to at all, but they were interesting too because I tried to link them to something I was familiar with like a family member or a friend. When, and if, I located a person or a story that I could relate to that micro novella I tried to figure out what it might mean to them or to place myself in that situation. It wasn’t always easy, but it made the novellas easier to engage with. I have to admit that I just read through several as well without connecting them to anything in particular.

Books like this one might make it easier for people to express something they find difficult to express under normal circumstances. Personally, I think it’s difficult to express deeper thoughts about death. In Norway, we tend to say “Kondolerer” which roughly translates to “I’m sorry for your loss”, but the Norwegian word is such a cold and passive expression towards someone who’ve just lost someone dear. That’s just my personal opinion and I feel that Grytten presents quite a few good mental pictures of how one can deal with death in different ways in maybe a more passionate way and not just by expressing one word to the person affected by the loss. My favourite is this one:

A widower (82) searches everywhere but the wedding ring is gone. Instead, he sits down, looking at the photo album containing their wedding photo where she smiles at him.

Then there are other topics I don’t understand the point of. An example of such a topic is trophy wives. Nothing against them because I’m sure they can be both intelligent and have a good life, but I can’t see how that’s a title to strive to achieve during one’s life. Thus, it was quite fun for me to read such novellas as the one cited above to gain some different perspectives on this, to me, uninteresting topic.

Waiting for the Bird is a book you can pick up any day and find something that expresses your mood in just 140 characters. All the micro novellas are well formulated and are most likely to poke some of your feelings awake whether you like it or not. This book is the perfect kind of gift because it contains something for everyone, but it is also a good book to buy for yourself if you need something short that expresses the everyday life of different people. It is quite possible that you can relate to quite a few of the micro novellas. It is a book you can read any day, maybe especially on days where you find it difficult to express yourself and your thoughts. Grytten has a way with words, and I must say I would find it appropriate to borrow some of them!

Published: 2014

Genre: Micro novellas

Theme: Life

– The Book Reader

Bilderesultat for vente på fuglen

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