Shooting Stars Everywhere
Delacorte, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke
ictor Forlands looks ahead to six weeks of boring summer vacation in Berlin, Germany. For his thirteenth birthday, Dad gives him a journal, and Victor surprises himself by writing in it faithfully. Victor's parents are divorced. He lives with Dad, who is a night-shift taxi driver, and Mom usually sends him a unique gift from her foreign travel.
choolmate Lukas is away for the summer, but left a challenge - Victor must conquer his fear of high diving before Lukas returns. If Victor loses the bet, he has to kiss Saskia, who loves to beat up boys. In the extreme heat, Victor spends a lot of time at the pool working up the courage to dive. A girl referred to as D appears. She encourages him to take the plunge and coaches him on how to manage the dive physically and mentally. It is some time before Victor gets to know more about who D is.
n his apartment complex, Victor helps Arnold who has a bad nerve in his lumbar vertebrae, and recently buried a dog named Kaiser Wilhelm (they believe he was poisoned). Neighbor Mischka brings casseroles, and discusses religion with Dad. Once, a woman named Edda came by often, but for some reason she has disappeared from the scene.
ictor's first anonymous, mysterious letter arrives in the mailbox, typewritten on yellowed paper ... '
the red animal in dead / beware of strangers / and dark clouds of dust / for they will swallow you up / just like everyone here
'. Victor learns that others are also receiving these odd notes. There is talk that Edda was taken by aliens, and that the letters are from the beings who have her. D and Victor begin to investigate, looking for a typewriter that has an odd letter 'e'.
hooting Stars Everywhere
(translated from German by James Skofield) is a story about nothing in particular, written in a deadpan monologue. Along with diving and detecting, it has humorous moments, mixed with suspense, some affection, and a man with a lumbar problem, who is a tae kwon do expert. Try it for a quick and quirky,
read, that requires no great concentration.
2nd Review by Sally Selvadurai (Rating:2)
his story is written as a first person narrative, in diary form. Victor is a young boy entering his teenage years, a loner with few friends and a dysfunctional family. Victor's father drives a taxi cab at night, so he sleeps through much of the day, while his mother has moved away to the countryside and travels extensively as a lawyer.
ictor made a bet with one of his schoolmates that he will jump off the 10 metre diving board before the end of the summer holidays. While plucking up courage to jump, he is befriended by an odd, bossy young girl – who comes with her own psychological baggage. Strange things begin to happen at Victor's apartment house, and his new friend wants to help him figure it all out.
his tale, although not very fast-paced, does give an insight into the feelings of a young adolescent, and his interaction with
the fairer sex
. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the novel, before the narrator's name was mentioned, I had the feeling that the narrator was a female, and the ensuing pages did not dispel this feeling very much. Perhaps the solitary life that Victor leads makes him appear more effeminate; the author (or translator) has not been able convince this reader that our
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