The Solitaire Mystery

Jostein Gaarder

“Here is an honest-to-goodness dream-making bedtime story for grown-ups in the proud tradition of “Alice in Wonderland”.”

A novel for young readers which ranges far and wide in space and time. We follow a father and his son on their journey through Europe in search of the boy’s mother, though underlying this theme are many other stories. What is the link between them? And why must Hans Thomas go back to a shipwreck in 1790 to understand why his mother left him to go to Athens? The author blends fantasy with reality, fairytales with family history. With warmth and understanding he portrays the relationship between father and son and their quest for an identity and a sense of belonging. The book is a journey through Europe – but also a journey backwards in time to some of the events that have made Hans Thomas what he is. Fate, or whatever it may have been, once shuffled the pack to produce him. Time goes round and round and there is a joker at large in the world. Hans Thomas is presented with a magnifying glass by a dwarf he meets at a petrol station in Switzerland; and in the little village of Dorf he is given a tiny book baked within a bun – which he is able to read with the aid of the magnifying glass.

Praise for The Solitaire Mystery:

Here is an honest-to-goodness dream-making bedtime story for grown-ups in the proud tradition of Alice in Wonderland” LA Times

A sparkling injunction to be forever humorous, optimistic and above all curious, this is a book of marvelsIndependent on Sunday

Elegant, thought-provoking and funnyDet fri Aktuelt

“…a story-telling technique that brings to mind Umberto Eco’s In the Name of the Rose” Information

“Fascinating…A playful, ingenious, frequently moving celebration of our persistent search for answers to the ultimate questions” Kirkus Reviews

A welcome blend of whimsy and wisdom… A delightful hybrid between Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle and Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story” San Fransisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle Book Review

Enchanting, unpredictable, absorbing fun. This novel is another offbeat delight, ontology masquerading as an ingeniously constructed fairy talePublishers Weekly

Intellectually arresting, emotionally upliftingDaily Telegraph

Rights sold to

  • Language Foreign publisher
  • AlbanianOnufri, Tirana
  • American EnglishFarrar, Straus & Giroux
  • ArabicDar Al-Muna
  • BengaliKaloharaph
  • Braz. PortugueseCompahnia das Letras
  • British EnglishOrion Books
  • BulgarianDamyan Yakov
  • CatalanEmpuries/Grup 62
  • Chinese (complex)Ecus
  • Chinese (simplified)The Writer’s Publishing House
  • CroatianZnanje
  • DanishHøst & Søn
  • DutchFontein
  • EstonianKoolibri
  • FaroeseBokadeildin
  • FinnishTammi
  • FrenchSeuil
  • GeorgianNectar
  • GermanCarl Hanser Verlag
  • GreekLivanis
  • HebrewSchocken
  • HungarianNoran Libro Publishing House
  • IcelandicEdda
  • IndonesianMizan
  • ItalianSalani
  • JapaneseNHK-Publishing
  • KoreanHyonam
  • KurdishAvesta
  • Kurdish (Sorani)Andesha Cultural Center
  • LatvianZvaigzne
  • LithuanianTyto Alba
  • MacedonianBata Press
  • PersianHoupaa Books
  • PolishJ. Santorski
  • PortuguesePresenca
  • RomanianEditura Univers
  • RussianAmphora Publishers
  • SerbianGeopoetica
  • SlovakianSofa
  • SloveneZalozka Obzorja
  • SpanishSiruela
  • SwedishRaben & Sjögren
  • ThaiRuan Boon
  • TurkishPan
  • UkrainianLitopys

Contact agent

Additional info

  • Kabalmysteriet
  • 1990
  • Aschehoug Forlag
  • Children