Through a Glass Darkly
Jostein Gaarder

154 pages, published 1999

Okay, I’ll come clean, I have never actually read Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World. I know everyone always recommends it, it’s always on every book list I ever come across and, to make matters worse, I even have my own copy that I bought from the Penrith Library. I just never managed to get the whole way through it, I will try again … but not today. Anyways, when I saw this book sitting next to it on the shelf at the library I decided to give this, decidedly smaller (and much more manageable) one a read.

It is the story of a girl who (though it is never said explicitly) knows she is dying of cancer and is spending her last days at home with her family. One night she wakes to see a small white figure sitting on her windowsill watching her: an angel. The pair make a deal, she will tell him what it means to be human, if he will tell her what it is like to be an angel. Very beautiful, very sad, and, unsurprisingly for Gaardner, steeped in philosophy. 4/5

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