I read, our rather listened to this book for the first time six years ago. (Audio books is the most wonderful invention!) Now, I just finished it (listened again) for the second time, and this is really one of my all time favorite books! For those of you who doesn't know the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder, make sure to get acquainted with his writing! This novel, intended for young readers, is written in 1990, several years before "Sophie's World", his world wide bestseller, and both novels are acclaimed, not only by the intended teenage public, but also with those among us with a few more years of life and experience.
The book is about philosophy, yes, but where this is really obvious in "Sophie's world", it's more subtle in "The Solitaire Mystery". In this book, philosophy is not so much a topic as a basis for everything. It's just there, all the time. Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we here? These are the main questions, but they're baked into a family saga that spans several hundred years, a strange fairy tale and a contemporary story about a teenage boy and his dad, driving through Europe searching for the boy's mother, who disappeared years ago.
There are so many aspects, so many threads, and it's just wonderful how the whole is woven together, with suspense, history, geography and humanity. What is a family? What is is being a human being? Who made us? Aren't these questions the core of almost everything? I think they are.
We listened to the book in the car, while driving from Norway to France, and everyone was totally absorbed in the story. (Maybe except for the three-year-old, who would choose to talk to himself or fall asleep while we listened to the book)