Synopses & Reviews
Twelve-year-old Anon is so lost in his dual fantasies of befriending Sara, the owner of the library card he's found, and of his absentee father's god-like qualities that he doesn't mind that everyone at school is making fun of him. Seventeen-year-old Zarah has her mind on the alarming behavior of her jealous boyfriend as well as her relationship with a woman at work, which suddenly becomes complicated. Nils, who is going through an existential crisis, engages in some risky behavior while exploring how it might feel to be dead. He is also obsessed with Zarah, although he doesn't really know her. Then Nils's friend Hannes makes a misstep that might have deadly consequences. When Anon meets Sara, and Nils meets Zarah, and Anon and Zarah and Nils all come together unexpectedly, their lives take surprising new turns.
"Nilsson (Heart's Delight) uses an alternating third-person narrative to build suspense as he threads together the lives of three memorable young people: sixth-grader Anon ('short for 'anonymous,' ' he overhears his mother tell a friend), sensuous 17-year-old Zarah with a volatile boyfriend, and Nils, whom readers first meet as his friend shuts him inside a coffin (at Nils's request). The characters may be offbeat, but the author renders them completely credible. The trio's lives intertwine subtly at first. Anon finds a wallet belonging to a girl named Sara (the author drops a hint when Zarah mentions a 'mirror sister' named Sara); Nils observes Anon walking into a lamppost through a coffee shop window; and Zarah randomly picks out Nils in a bar as the object of a ploy to make her boyfriend jealous. At times, Zarah's sexual adventures with Victor become quite graphic; in one such incident, Victor and Zarah have sex in the woods on the very spot where Nils is temporarily buried (to once again experience what death might feel like). Nilsson's well-honed sense of irony leavens the novel's darker themes, and the triumphant merging of the trio's lives brings about unexpected and uplifting epiphanies for all three characters. With no tidy wrap-up, the novel will keep readers thinking about these characters' lives long after the final page. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A]n outstanding offering..." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"[A] thought-provoking, beautifully written story." Michael Cart, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Provocative." Kirkus Reviews
"This sophisticated novel hooks readers in with its intriguing portrayal of how individuals can affect one anothers destiny, sometimes without even knowing it." The Horn Book
"[A]n interesting but odd story..." VOYA
Anon gets teased mercilessly at school. Someone has been peeing on the toilets at school and he gets blamed for it. He's just a daydreaming kid, lost in his own world, ad the teasing really doesn't bother him. he hardly notices it. He's more caught up in his daydreaming world about a girl named Sara that he doesn't know but imagines in great detail) and about his father who does not live with him). Zarah has more serious trouble. Her boyfriend, Victor, is turning out to be trouble, and a new friendship at her place of work is getting complicated. Meanwhile, Nils is having an existential crisis. He spends a lot of time thinking about death and life. When Nils finds Zarah, his life takes on new meaning. In watching Anon be so lost in his daydreams, Nils rediscovers the happiness he knew as a daydreaming kid.
About the Author
Per Nilsson was born in Mälmo in 1954. Today he lives in Sölvesborg with his four children. He trained as a mathematics and music teacher. For many years he worked part-time in a school and part-time as an author. Today he is a full-time author. He sees his books as letters in which he carries on conversations with young adults about life and death, about hope and belief in the future, about roles we play, the world we live in and about love. His literary strength lies in his use of new motives and unexpected ways of thinking. He has written about twenty books, many of which have won awards.
Heart's Delight is the first of Mr. Nilsson's books to be published in the U.S. It won first prize in Rabén & Sjögren's 1992 awards competition for best love story, the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturepreis in 1997, and the Dutch "Silver Kiss" in 1999. Mr. Nilsson also writes the script for a family series on Swedish television.