Tuesday, 7 February 2012

My thoughts about The House of Tomorrow

So between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon I started - and finished - reading a new amazing novel, The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni. Following is my own fumbling try of writing a review.

The novel is set around this day and age (but possibly in a parallel universe) where a 16-year old boy lives with his grandmother in a big glass dome. The reason why Sebastian (which happens to be the name of the boy) and his Nana live there is because they believe in the ideology of "Bucky", a prominent futuristic philosopher who is long gone but his ideals continue to live through Nana and she teaches them to her grandson. Sebastian grows up being taught to never dwell in the past and to only look forward, alone with his grandmother in the dome. One day Nana gets a stroke and when this happens Sebastian encounters a family with a boy the same age as him. Jared shows him the world of punk rock, grilled cheese sandwiches and girls. As the story progresses it becomes clear that Nana wants everything to go back to the way things were before the stroke... But can Sebastian let go of his new life?

Cheesy description of the contents of the novel over and done with. I am definitely a sucker for these "coming-of-age novels". There is something so innocent and fascinating about the transformation from child to adult and this story includes a whole bunch of rather familiar events: the discovery of music, the first romance, breaking free of the chains of a well-meaning but suffocating adult... Yet this book does it in a different way. The book is written in a rather simple way. This does not by any means mean that the book is badly written - it is most certainly not. But it is written with the purpose of transporting you to a time and place and then carrying the story forward, rather than winding itself into long descriptions of the surroundings. It is written so that it is effortless to read, which has it's drawbacks as well as advantages. Of course, being a story about a 16-year old boy, maybe it targets itself towards a younger audience of the opposite sex and I'm just pathetic for loving it.

I jumped ahead of myself in the last sentence of the previous paragraph there - I love it. There is no point in denying it. The book has a couple of minor flaws and it may not be everyone's cup of tea but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can see myself enjoying it even if I was a few years younger (and I would most likely fall in love with our fictional hero) but the book also discusses philosophical views upon the world and our current lifestyles. As soon as I finished the book I darted towards the nearest device with an internet connection and started googling it. I was hoping to find it translated to Swedish and if I did I would send it to my youngest brother Elias as a late birthday present. Unfortunately it is not translated to Swedish (yet) and I suspect the english version will be too much effort for him to read. (Especially since he is not an avid reader. Yet.)

Lastly I would like to recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Number9Dream by David Mitchell or When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. This book is just as humoristic but without any of the heaviness that the previously mentioned books had. I also recommend visiting Peter Bognanni's website, http://www.peterbognanni.com/. He has a hilarious blog.

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