It’s based in part on Backman’s own family’s journey with watching a loved one slip away long before death.
In this novella, Noah and his grandfather are much alike, lovers of mathematics, space, adventure, and silly private jokes. But Noah and his grandfather are both scared. Noah’s grandmother has already died, and it’s apparent that his grandfather’s memories are slipping away quickly.
The family is having to figure out how to cope with the grandfather’s loss before he’s actually taken from them.
It’s a very touching meditation on love, loss, fear, comfort, and memory. In Backman’s introductory letter, he says, “This is a story about about memories and about letting go.
It’s a love letter and a slow farewell between a man and his grandson, and between a dad and his boy.”
Backman’s books are always sentimental, but for me, they never cross over into saccharine or maudlin territory. At just 76 pages, this one can be read very quickly, but I think you should read it slowly. The twists of phrase and the clarity that comes out of the confusion and chaos of oncoming memory loss is quite compelling.