The Orange Girl


It’s written by a Norwegian author, Jostein Gaarder, who studied Philosophy before. This writer is a masterful storyteller. One of his trademarks is telling a story within a story, and doing so in a winding, and enthralling way. I’ve read his book Sophie’s World before, it’s a great book, a short cut to philosophy studies from Socrates to Kant. The light version to philosophy but still quite heavy to some people if they don’t have interest in philosophy studies.

Something I extracted from the book:
“Imagine that you were on the threshold of this fairytale, sometime billions of years ago when everything was created. And you were able to choose whether you wanted to be born to a life on this planet at some point. You wouldn’t know when you were going to be born, nor how long you’d live for, but at any event it wouldn’t be more than a few years. All you’d know was that, if you chose to come into the world at some point, you’d also have to leave it again one day and go away from everything. This might cause you a good deal of grief, as lots of people think that life in the great fairytale is so wonderful that the mere thought of it ending can bring tears to their eyes. Things can be so nice here that it’s terribly painful to think that at some point the days will run out. What would you have chosen, if there had been some higher power that had gave you the choice? Perhaps we can imagine some sort of cosmic fairy in this great, strange fairytale. What you have chosen to live a life on earth at some point, whether short or long, in a hundred thousand or a hundred million years? Or would you have refused to join in the game because you didn’t like the rules? (…) I asked myself the same question maybe times during the past few weeks. Would I have elected to live a life on earth in the firm knowledge that I’d suddenly be torn away from it, and perhaps in the middle of intoxicating happiness? (…) Well, I wasn’t sure what I would have chosen. (…) If I’d chosen never to the foot inside the great fairytale, I’d never have known what I’ve lost. Do you see what I’m getting at? Sometimes it’s worse for us human beings to lose something dear to us than never to have had it at all”

I read the Orange Girl after Sophie’s World so I found it really light, it’s more to the soul than to intellectual understanding compared to Sophie’s World. This is a touching story with lots of meaning about life, choices, and about death. The way the book ends could not have been better, honestly I spent the entire day with a smile on my face because of that ending. Wow, this is a powerful book! You could trace some of philosophy sides of Gaarder in this book. The background story is of the orange girl. It is also the story of the death of a father when his son was four years old, and his need to write him a letter to be read years later when his son is older enough to understand about life. This book is rather like a “dialogue” between father and son, through the words in the letters. I’m tired reading books about love romance or thriller killing without no meaning or essence in it. But this book brings something fresh to your mind.

I love this book so much and would recommend my children to read it. I’ve read it in English 6 years ago but I kinda miss the little details so I read it again in German so not to forget the language even I’ve learned it until level B2 only, before I jumped to learn french. I think to learn language is key to learn the culture.


Eine Ode an das Leben, die Liebe, das Glück


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