Through a Glass, Darkly
by Jostein Gaarder
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
0 pages; ISBN: 0754040577
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Amy Dolman
Through a Glass, Darkly Jostein Gaarder
‘Every single second some brand-new children are shaken out of the sleeve of nature’s jacket. Hocus pocus! Every single second many people disappear too. O U T spells out, and out Cecilia must go...’
Known for the Philosophical musings of ‘Sophie’s World’, Jostein Gaarder once again challenges our idea of reality, this time questioning our concept of God and all creation. The book acts as a window allowing us to observe the dialogue between a sick little girl named Cecilia, and a slightly unconventional angel called Ariel. The childlike angel is not at all what Cecilia was expecting, no wings or long hair, no harp and no halo, just a bald young boy....‘Was it a girl or was it a boy?’ A bargain is struck between the two as Ariel promises to let her in on a few heavenly secrets, if she in turn helps him understand what it is like to be made of ‘flesh and blood.’ Gaarder playfully toys with the concept that we cannot know what it is to be that which we are not, as Ariel and Cecilia try to imagine life in each other’s shoes.
As we observe Cecilia’s last days, the companionship of the Angel helps her to realise that we all see the world ‘through a glass, darkly’; we may sometimes feel things should have been made a little differently, but we understand our world only in part. As Cecilia’s understanding grows, she gradually fades away, until she stands on the other side of the glass.
This book will appeal to anyone with a love for the Philosophical and the supernatural. Gaarder paints a tragic picture of a dying girl, but pushes the Philosophical issues of God and creation into supernatural realms with the use of her angel friend. We are left with a sense that there is order and purpose to such events, and though some might find this an inadequate recompense for a tragedy like this, others will appreciate Gaarder’s attempts to rationalise them.
Cecilia’s journey to the other side of the glass is both moving and challenging. We are forced to contemplate the nature of mortality and celestial immortality, whilst witnessing a little girls struggle with her illness, and the idea that perhaps God isn’t perfect after all. A thoroughly gratifying read!
Review by Amy Dolman 06/05/03