Jakop is a lonely man. He visits funerals of people he has never met, just to feel the company of other people. He is also a great storyteller. In the receptions after the funerals he invents stories about his relationship to the diseased, and the people he meets listen to him with great attention. Jakop’s great passion is language, and especially the intricate family bonds between the Indo-European languages. Here he seeks and finds a deep connection and feeling of belonging to other cultures and other times. He shares his interest for the Indo-European language family with Pelle, his only friend. Not until halfway through the novel do we learn that Pelle is, in fact, a hand puppet.
The Puppeteer is a moving and thought-provoking novel about loneliness, about relations, about how language and storytelling creates connections and meaning, and about seeking a place and a purpose in the world. Readers familiar with Gaarder’s previous books will recognize the narrative energy and surplus displayed in The Ringmaster’s Daughter.
”A tender and warm novel about loneliness. The Puppeteer is a tight and intelligently composed novel, conveyed with empathy. It is one of the better Jostein Gaarder has written.”