At fifteen, Georg comes upon a letter written to him by his dying father, to be read when he comes of age. Their two voices make a fascinating dialogue as Georg comes to know the father he can barely remember, then is challenged by him to answer some profound questions. The central mystery of The Orange Girl is the story of an elusive young woman for whom Georg’s father searches in Oslo and Seville—and whom Georg finally realizes is his mother.
My take: 3 looks
Like other Jostein Gaarder books, this one is heavy on philosophy. However, the story is so compelling that you don’t even realize that questions of after-life, what-ifs, terminal diseases and moving on after grief are fully addressed.
Georg is fully likable, and a very fleshed-out teenager. His family is supportive and nurturing, while giving him the space he needs to read this letter 11 years after it was written. What follows is a thoughtful, emotional and ultimately tragic story that buds with new life at the end.