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Dyksommar (Diving Summer)

By: Tristan Sun

Dyksommar is a moving book reflecting on feelings shared by many: being sad and not wanting to live with the pain, or a friend who feels that way. The story is closely related to Sara Stridsberg’s acclaimed novel Beckomberga – Ode till min familj. The same characters, same storyline, but told from a child’s point of view of the world. Despite the dark theme, the story is full of humor and lightheartedness.

In the book, the main character Zoe’s dad suddenly disappears. She is told that he has become ill and goes to stay in a mental hospital for a long time. Zoe still sees him in photographs, laughing and playing tennis, but she can only visit him in a building where everyone looks sad and the doors are locked. He says he can’t handle any visits, that he needs to be alone – as if he has lost the will to live.

What has made him depressed, and will he ever get better? Zoe doesn’t know, but she keeps going.

While waiting for her father to get better, Zoe meets an intriguing woman named Sabrina wearing a red swimsuit under a blue bathrobe. She doesn’t need a pool, a sea; awash with imagination, she spins a globe. “Sabina has been in the World Championships in Toronto and one day she will swim across the Pacific Ocean.” In the spring, Zoe and Sabina practice diving from a park bench and stroking in the grass.

Dyksommar is a beautiful book on an important subject with familiar, colorful illustrations that complement the beautiful text. But despite the eloquent words and pictures, it only gets four stars from me. Even though the book is written from a child’s point of view, it doesn’t really capture the child’s voice; the book is more suitable for adults, not children.

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