Sedgwick said when he saw the painting Midvinterblot (above) at The National Museum of Sweden in Stockholm by Carl Larsson (1915) he knew he had to write a story that tried to explain the action. In the painting amidst great pomp and circumstance a naked king readies himself to be sacrificed.
The story unfolds in seven interconnected stories from the present day to the distant past. Keeping the painting and the title of the book in mind, the reader know what is coming but doesn't know how, when, or even the why. They just know that each story ends a bit abruptly at just the moment or two before it is possible to figure anything out. The next story begins in the same setting but it isn't immediately recognizable. Not until the very last page do all the stories draw together. I even audibly exclaimed "oh" when it all came together for me.
Genius is one word I would use to describe the book. It would be worthy of an immediate reread to find all the clues dropped along the way that were missed first time through. Reading this book is a bit more work than the usual YA fare but so, so worth the effort. It is a 2014 Mock Printz selection for our district this year. I am very eager to hear what the students think of it. I can't wait to talk to someone else who has read it. It is one of those books that is so complex it will benefit from discussion.
Give it a go, and then come on back and let's talk!
Disclaimer: book checked out from my library.