Saturday, 11 December 2010

Eleventh Day of Advent

- December 11th -

A friend of mine introduced me to Norwegian novelist Jostein Gaarder’s wonderful book The Christmas Mystery about ten years ago.

As each chapter of the book is a Day of Advent, my friend would traditionally read the book a chapter a night before going to sleep, allowing the story to unfold piece by mysterious piece throughout the course of almost a month.

Naturally, I was intrigued by what my friend told me about this book so, within a matter of days, I had popped down to my local Waterstones bookshop and purchased myself a copy of Gaarder’s novel for myself.

It was late November as I walked back from the bookshop, and as the novel begins on November 30th I decided to follow my friend’s example and read it one chapter a night, finishing up the book on Christmas Eve.

Joachim, a young boy, buys an advent calendar that turns out to contain something far more special than pieces of festive shaped chocolate. For behind each tiny door Joachim finds a piece of paper that tells the story of Elisabet Hansen, a girl who chases a toy lamb out of department store and across the country, encountering on her way, an angel, a cherub, a couple of shepherds and a King of the Orient!

The Christmas Mystery is such a magical little story, told through the eyes of a young boy, who slowly becomes enthralled by the mysterious Elisabet’s fantastic story.

Sadly, whenever I have re-read this book I have never gotten around to reading it one day at a time over the Advent period again, but instead find myself cramming in several chapters at a time to get it finished before Christmas.

I urge anyone who hasn’t read this marvellous book to do so, but preferably at Christmas Time, and one chapter a day starting from November 30th. And, like Joachim, a wonderful little Christmas mystery will unfold before your eyes.

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