Translated from the Swedish, this was a real find and at the 20p cost, I consider it to be one of the very best bargains of my bibliophilic career to date and will take some beating.
Most of us wish to leave the overcrowded towns and cities, this book indulges that want, that need. From the off it’s a picturesque scene of nature, a solitary place where the only sounds are nature and the odd human voice, it’s almost as modern a version as being primal as we can get to in this day and age.
Johan is our young narrator who goes on holiday with his parents, meets some new friends, has adventures, learns about nature, life and himself. It is Marvin though who is the key character in the book, he’s a 19 year old with the mind of a much younger child. Trusting, innocent, vulnerable and easily frightened, much like the wildlife he loves.
If Marvin’s character would have been overplayed or to unrealistic then the whole book would have lost a significant amount of charm. His gentle nature and naivety though is perfectly pitched, although he is different he is more in tune with nature and leads the better life for that.
compared to, say Enid Blyton, whose books also show a deep love of nature but not much in the way of character development, this book has a more sophisticated and emotionally involving approach, these days it would be required reading for anyone wishing to highlight the destruction of nature but since this in written 1971 it’s charms have been somewhat lost to time.
At 158 pages this is a short book but all the same is a book that will capture the heart of all ages and will be one of those books I for one will be rereading again come next summer, with its hauntingly beautiful descriptions of nature and vaguely melancholy but ultimately uplifting air, I demand you all go and seek a copy.
I was genuinely gutted to have finished it, even though I made every effort to savour each page. A book that moves and resonates with everyone can be a rare thing and one that also has a good reminder that modern life is a bit rubbish and we should all slow down fills all my criteria for a good book/ I think a reprint is due as it beats most Children’s books hands down.