Reviews for “The Goalie and the Sea”

Cover of "The Goalie and the Sea"

“A Resounding reunion with the friends from Waffle Hearts

Strong feelings, great drama and a real way with words
This book is one that I feel like reading aloud, chapter by chapter, to everybody around me. It has an exciting plot, drama between the characters, and humour in almost every line.

After her two previous books – Waffle Hearts (Vaffelhjarte) in 2005 and Astrid the Unstoppable (Tonje Glimmerdal) in 2009 – Maria Parr (36) from Sunnmøre, on the west coast of Norway, was proclaimed the shining new talent in Norwegian children’s literature. Then nothing was heard for a while, and it is easy to imagine that ideas were tried and rejected amidst a fear of failure. So it is a real pleasure to report that Parr is back and is surpassing herself, offering us more of what we have grown to love, while at the same time expanding the world of the children she writes about.

Surpassing herself
We are back in the small hamlet of Mathildewick Cove, a ferry journey away from a town that could be Ålesund.

Trille and Lena were nine years old in Waffle Hearts. Now they are twelve, Trille is still the first-person narrator, and we follow them through a year at school. Their world is larger, and the events that happen are more serious.

In one plot thread, we find out more about when Trille’s grandfather was a young man, and how he fell in love with Trille’s grandmother; in another, we see Lena’s new football coach giving her so few opportunities on the pitch that she decides to move to a team in town instead.

Friendship triangle
The new girl in the class, Brigitte from the Netherlands, also causes some commotion. Trille would like to be with her, but he is also ashamed of neglecting Lena and his grandfather. And he is really astonished that Brigitte can see any good in the class bully, Kai-Tommy.

Along the way, there is time for broken arms, fishing trips, secrets, airgun accidents, a school concert, and an Astrid Lindgren reference when Trille’s little sister is hoisted up the flagpole.

Birth, love, and the sea
If there is anything to pick holes in from this book, it might be the penchant for melodrama. The main characters are in mortal danger on the waves two or three times, and Trille’s baby sister is born during a heavy winter storm. Still, this is also probably the book’s greatest strength. The drama is well integrated and realistic, and the reader can feel the grave seriousness of the situations.

Lena emerges as an even more ambiguous character. At her worst, she is self-centered, short-tempered, and sulky. At her best, she has a heart of gold (XL size). It is easy to see how the calmer Trille can feel frustrated and confused.

Best in practically all aspects
The Goalie and the Sea fulfils most criteria of literary criticism. The language is rich and varied. The composition, ensemble of characters, and dramatic structure work well. Parr dares to take all the corners at full speed with even more sincerity, more drama and, not least, even more fantastic new words and expressions. […]

I enjoyed most of all how Parr lets her characters and readers think, learn, and grow as a result of everything they go through. We see honest children struggling with big questions, and coming out of it all with greater self-awareness and greater respect for other people.

This book is full of wisdom, beauty and emotion, and it is quite likely that Maria Parr will see in the new year with several more literary prizes on her mantelpiece.”

(Reviewed by Morten Olsen Haugen, Aftenposten 13 August 2017)

“The sequel to Waffle Hearts: binge-reading!
The sequel to Waffle Hearts does not disappoint. Maria Parr’s writing is lively and humorous, creating a safe universe it feels good to inhabit. […] Your heart also beats more calmly and happily when you read Maria Parr’s books. …This novel uses language inventively and is filled with funny alliterations and playful comparisons. … Lena Lid and Trille deserve many readers and many books. Through her writing, Maria Parr conjures up wild and beautiful western Norwegian scenery and appealing characters we would like to follow in book after book. “

(Reviewed by Kristine Isaksen, VG)

“Speed and self-confidence
Maria Parr has proven again that she is in a class of her own as a children’s author. This charm bomb of a story will bring out laughter and tears in children and adults alike. … It is an exciting story, and the first time you read it, you will at times find yourself on the edge of your seat, hoping that everything will turn out well. Maria Parr is not afraid of writing about difficult topics, such as death: can it happen at any time? This grown-up reviewer shed several tears while reading – tears of sympathy and recognition – which were soon replaced by smiles and laughter.    …   Maybe it is here, more than anywhere, that Maria Parr’s magic lies: not in her use of language, even though that is terrifically good, or in the story, which is also unbearably exciting, but in all the layers she works into it, in the way she surveys the depths of what makes up life. Fun, excitement and humour, but also serious matters, insecurities and sorrow. Life and death. Maria Parr writes about children, but her books are really about all of us.

The Goalie and the Sea is a brilliant book for children, and is perfect for grown-ups too.”

(Reviewed by Gerd Elin Stava in Dagsavisen, 16 August 2017)

Bjørn Berge: IN THE AGE OF THE BOMBERS

CULTURAL HISTORY

Cover of "In the Age of the Bombers"

Luftens tyranner. Menn og bombefly gjennom 100 år
Published by Spartacus Forlag, 2019

Deadly planes as big as football pitches with bomb loads of up to 50 tonnes have thundered over cities and countries since 1914. The scenario is both historical and contemporary.
The arrival of bomber technology, with its ability to penetrate front lines and spread destruction among civilian populations, changed the nature of warfare forever. Its supporters claimed mass bombing would yield rapid victories by demoralising enemy populations. The idea persists: if only bombers become powerful, fast and precise enough, wars will be won swiftly and bloodlessly.

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Marianne G. Engedal: THE SAUSAGE BURGLAR

Cover of Marianne Engedal: The Sausage Burglar

Pølsetjuven
Published by Samlaget, 2019

Exciting about an unwilling burglar
Bill is a nine-year-old boy, born into a family of burglars. But Bill doesn’t want to be a burglar. One day he has to steal from his own friend, Sausage Sam. “But I don’t want to steal from Sausage Sam,” yells Bill, “He’s my friend!” What does he get in response? “A real burglar has to be able to steal from anyone at all!”

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Bjørn Berge: NOWHERE LANDS. LOST COUNTRIES OF THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY

HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY

Bjørn Berge: Landene som forsvant/Nowhere LandsLandene som forsvant. 1840 – 1970
Published by Spartacus, 2016

A different kind of world history – told through stamps from countries that have been erased from the map

More than 1000 countries have issued their own stamps during the past 175 years since the first “Penny Black” was introduced in England in 1840. Most of them no longer exist. Some of their names will bring back associations, such as Biafra and “famine” and Bhopal and “environmental disaster”. Others, few of us will associate with anything, like Labuan, Tannu Tuva and Fiume. These lost countries have fascinating stories to tell , whether they were short-lived like Eastern Karelia, which lasted only a few weeks during the winter war of 1922, or more tenacious such as the Orange Free State, a Boer Republic which celebrated 50 years as an independent state in the late 1800s.

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Pål Brekke: THE STORY ABOUT THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

NATURAL SCIENCE

Cover of "The Story About the Northern Lights"

Historien om Nordlyset
Published by Solarmax Consulting, 2018

Watching the northern lights or “aurora borealis” dancing overhead on a clear winter night is one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring sights that the natural world can offer. They differ from all other light phenomena by exhibiting an amazing variety of colours, structures, and movements. For people who have caught a glimpse of the northern lights will the sight often leaves memories for a lifetime.

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Åsmund H. Eikenes: A SINGLE DROP. THE SPECTACULAR SCIENCE OF BODY FLUIDS

NATURAL SCIENCE/BIOLOGY

Sprut. Sanninga om kroppsvæskene dine
Published by Samlaget, 2018

Once you read this book, blood tests, kisses and glasses of milk will never be the same.
In A Single Drop, Åsmund H. Eikenes spurts out funny stories about blood, sweat and tears, and mixes them together with grand revelations about more than 50 vastly different bodily fluids.The latest research tells us that our inner juices are far more important than you might think. Tiny little snot droplets can stay airborne for a whopping ten minutes after a mighty sneeze, mucus from the cervix guides healthy sperm cells on their way to the egg, and young people’s blood may contain the secret recipe to eternal life.

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Alfred Fidjestøl: ALMOST HUMAN – A BIOGRAPHY OF JULIUS THE CHIMPANZEE

BIOGRAPHY/NATURAL HISTORY

Alfred Fidjestøl: Nesten menneske - biografien om Julius/Almost Human - the Bigraphy of Julius the ChimpanzeeNesten menneske. Biografien om Julius
Published by Samlaget 2017

Julius the Chimpanzee is the most famous animal in Norway. He was born on Boxing Day 1979, in Kristiansand Zoo in southern Norway. Six weeks old he was rejected by his mother and had to live with a human family for one year. A camera crew followed him during this period and the following TV program made him into a celebrity in Norway.

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Bjarte Klakegg: NINKOLAI

Cover of "Ninkolai"

Ninkolai
Published by Samlaget 2019

A book about gender identity and losing your nearest and dearest
Nikolai identifies himself as a boy, but he was born a girl named Nina. We follow his time spent on his grandparents’ farm after he was deserted by his mother at the age of twelve. His granddad, Johannes, is the only one who wants to see him as Nikolai. It slowly becomes clear that Johannes is becoming sick, and Nikolai has to live through the only one who can see him slowly fading away.

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