When the Leaves Begin to Fall

When the Leaves Begin to Fall

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Joel and Lena, two shy young people, meet one summer, make a pact to keep their friendship a secret, and agree to part forever the day the first leaves begin to fall.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 124 pages
  • 140 x 220mm
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Swedish
  • 0192714406
  • 9780192714404

Review Text

Yes, a love story for fair, and from a young boy's perspective. Joel and Lena are twelve the summer they meet, agree to keep their acquaintance a secret and to part come autumn, "when the leaves begin to fall." At this early point, their relationship - predicated on leaving twigs in the hole of a rowan tree, on tacit understanding and silent communion - seems destined to be both rarefied and fervently pastoral; and with its strictures on nature-violating adults of "the species," the book always does run a slight fever. Still, as in many Swedish stories, all the relationships develop in rather subtle, slightly unexpected, very concrete ways. Joel, uneasy one evening, fiddles with a vine, trying (he thinks) to "achieve the loudest leaf-crack in the world"; and Lena, sitting apart, says softly, "that last one sounded good." Later they're together in their tree-house sanctuary for what will be the last time and Joel, thinking that the magic is gone, confesses he has nothing to say. "Why talk then," Lena says calmly. But it's the enusing days, when Joel and his friends are back in school, suddenly being pubescent boys, very conscious of girls, that tie the story together. Joel doesn't want to look through the keyhole into the girls' locker room, doesn't want anyone else to either, can't understand why the girls don't hang up a towel. Foster-brother Hanne confides that Lena, his favorite, has shown him a bite-mark on her arm; and the boys mull over why. Joel longs to see Lena, to ask her. Then she's absent, presumably sick, and he has an excuse to break their vow. And then she's gone, moved away - leaving their love intact. Truly delicate, then, after a somewhat-too-gauzy opening. (Kirkus Reviews)show more