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Herman

by Lars Saabye Christensen

A quirky book about a rather odd boy which should keep you fascinated and intrigued. Herman, aged 11, is going bald and no-one knows why - it might be to do with going up a crane or it might be the fact that his grandfather is dying. Whatever the cause, nothing can stop it. Both funny and poignant, this is a reminder of what it feels like to be young, trying to come to terms with all sorts of issues and relationships.

Extract

HERMAN LIES ON HIS BACK and stares up at the ceiling. Only his eyes are visible between the comforter and the cap, two narrow dark stripes.
'You have to eat something', Mother says quietly. Father holds out a slice of bread with both goat cheese and strawberry jam. It's no use, Herman clenches his fist under the comforter. Father walks out to the bathroom, washes his hands, changes shirts and comes back and eats the slice of bread himself. Mother smoothes out the comforter. Outside it's already dark.
'I only wanted to help', she whispers.
'You told' Herman says. 'You told the principal and now everyone knows!'

Translated by Steven Michael Nordby

Parallels

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner
 

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