And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella

by Fredrik Backman


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A little book with a big heart!

“I read this beautifully imagined and moving novella in one sitting, utterly wowed, wanting to share it with everyone I know.” —Lisa Genova, bestselling author of Still Alice

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501160486
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Edition description: Translatio
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 18,560
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @backmansk.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a round square that keeps getting smaller every day. Noah isn’t sure how they got there or how to get home. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the stuff that has made up their lives – Grandpa’s work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden.As they wait together on the bench, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her at all, much less the extraordinarily ordinary life they lived.

Sometimes Grandpa finds himself sitting on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father. Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond.

Grandpa, Grandma, Ted and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dim and getting more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, the scent of hyacinths in the air, nothing to fear.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Grandpa has a very specific nickname for his grandson Noah. Did it surprise you that he also referred to his son Ted in a similar way? Did that change the way you thought about these relationships? Is there a deeper significance to this specific type of nickname?

2. Alzheimer’s is a disease that steals a person’s memories. It’s incredibly difficult for the person losing his or her past, but also for loved ones as they cease to be recognized or remembered. How does Grandfather try to help Noah prepare for the day he won’t remember him? Which character do you think has the more difficult path ahead?

3. Mathematics is a bonding experience for Noah and his grandfather. What is it about math that they find so appealing? How does Ted’s preference for words over numbers prevent him from connecting with his father? Do you think that the same thing will prevent Ted and Noah from forming a close relationship in the future? Why or why not?

4. The novella shows us multiple generations of a family interacting with each other. Do you believe that the behaviors of one generation are necessarily repeated in the ones that come after? How is Ted different from his father? How is Noah different from his? What makes some people repeat the same mistakes their parents made, while others are able to break free from the past?

5. Noah and his grandfather like to give each other “unnecessary” presents. What do you think these funny presents tell us about Noah and his grandfather’s relationship? How is their significance different from that of a more traditional present?

6. Even though Noah’s grandmother passed away before the start of the book, her presence is very much felt throughout the story. How do you think the story would have changed if she were still alive and an active participant in the story, a witness to her husband’s deteriorating mental state?

7. What was your favorite illustration in the book? Did the illustrations enhance your reading experience? Why or why not?

8. Why do you think Grandfather always asks Noah about school?

9. Goodbyes are very important to Noah. How do you think Grandfather prepared Noah to say goodbye?

10. When Noah says to his father, “The way home is getting longer and longer every morning now,” what does he mean? How do you interpret the title of the novella?

11. At the end of the book, we discover that time has moved on and Noah has a daughter. Why do you think it’s important that she is mentioned? Do you think it matters that she is like Ted and loves words instead of numbers? How did it make you feel when you realized she existed?

12. Forgiveness is hard, particularly with the passage of years. How do you think the presence of Noah enabled his father and grandfather to forgive each other? And what do you think they needed to forgive each other for?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. At the front of the novella, there is a letter to readers from Fredrik Backman in which he talks about imagination, love, and letting go. Read one of Backman’s earlier novels, A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, or Britt-Marie Was Here. Do you notice any parallels between the themes of this letter and the novel you chose? Share with your book club how the novel you picked reflects these themes. How are the characters in this novella similar and different from the ones in the novel you read?

2. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is filled with beautiful illustrations depicting some of the story’s most poignant moments. As an art project, pick a moment in the story you found particularly beautiful or powerful and depict it in a visual way. Share it with your book club. Why did you pick this moment? What medium did you use to depict it? Why?

3. Lisa Genova, bestselling author of Still Alice, said of the novella that she wanted to “share it with everyone . . . ” Illness and death are very difficult topics to talk about, and everyone handles them differently. Do you think a book like this would be helpful to someone facing the end of his or her life? What about someone who is grieving over the loss of a loved one? How do books sometimes make difficult conversations easier to start? Make a list of other novels you’ve read that offered memorable insights on this challenging subject. Do the same books appear on multiple lists, or does each person in your book club have her or his own unique books?

Customer Reviews

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And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story. I loved this story and this author. I will keep reading his stories. They make think, they make me understand more of life, they make me cry with joy and sadness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone that's loved anyone with alzheimer's or dementia. Unique perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This sweet book gives one hope for kindness and humanity and families in all shapes and sizes. The power of love.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman is a beautiful, very highly recommended, admirable novella. This is one of the best short stories I have read this year. I loved this little book. Loved it and sobbed while reading it, but they were good tears. It is amazing how Backman managed to capture so much emotion so perfectly. It's a story about love and tenderness and letting go and remembering and legacies and family and.... Bachman introduces the story with a note to the readers, which is the best description of his story: "This is a story 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. "I never meant for you to read it, to be quite honest. I wrote it just because I was trying to sort out my own thoughts, and I'm the kind of person who needs to see what I'm thinking on paper to make sense of it. But it turned into a small tale of how I'm dealing slowly with losing the greatest minds I know, about missing someone who is still here, and how I wanted to explain it to my children. I'm letting it go for now, for what it's worth. "It's about fear and love, and how they seem to go hand in hand most of the time. Most of all, it's about time. While we still have it." This is novella is simply perfect, everything piece: the writing, the descriptions, the plot, the characters. In And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, Fredrik Backman has given us a gift that deserves to be held dear and cherished. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommended this book to my book club when we were looking for a book that wasn't too heavy but was still meaningful . I loved the development of Ove's character and the theme that you should never stop growing .
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
“’When you’ve forgotten a person, do you forget you’ve forgotten?’ ‘No, sometimes I remember that I’ve forgotten. That’s the worst kind of forgetting. Like being locked out in a storm’” And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer is a novella by Swedish blogger, columnist and author, Fredrik Backman. It is translated by Alice Menzies. Noah and his grandfather sit on a bench, inhaling the scent of grandma’s hyacinths. Grandma is gone: her body broke before her mind; for grandpa, it’s happening the other way around. Grandpa sits with Noah, trying so hard not to forget the girl he fell in love with, the girl he married, the girl who gave him Ted, Noah’s father. “’How did you fall in love with her?’ the boy asks. Grandpa’s hands land with one palm on his own knee and one on the boy’s. ‘She got lost in my heart, I think. Couldn’t find her way out. Your grandma always had a terrible sense of direction. She could get lost on an escalator’” Noah and grandpa have a special bond: they both love maths, they go fishing together, they stay in the tent on the island. No matter how scared they are about what’s happening to grandpa’s brain, they can play their favourite game, reciting the decimals of pi. And he can tell Noah his favourite joke. Ted never cared for maths, he was a man of letters and instruments. And when he was growing up, his dad was a busy man. But he can’t hide his fear for what his dad is going through now. Grandpa reminds them both that there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. Once again, Backman pulls together words of wisdom, ideas to make you smile and emotions to tug at your heart strings. A moving and heart-warming read.
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5 My first introduction to Fredrick Backman’s work, and it was a doozy. For a little read (just over an hour in audio and under 100 pages) the moments shine brightly, even through tears. And you will cry during this story, whether or not you have experienced the gradual letting go of a loved one or not: it’s hard not to envision yourself as Noah, or even as Ted: caught between the moments with too much to consider and ask. In short, the story is a delightful goodbye as Noah, a young boy, sits and chats with his grandfather who is nearing the end of his life, as his cognitive functions are ebbing away. Hoping to provide Noah with some comfort, although not quite always remembering why, Grandpa shares his love of mathematics with the boy, and the realization that infinity can always find some guidepost in mathematical theory. A rather odd reference, that quickly becomes all encompassing, providing a pathway that allows curiosity and not fear to take over. A gentle and quiet sort of goodbye that is shaded in shared moments and remembrances, gentle laughter, shared jokes, and the sweet scent of hyacinth in the air. Where Ted comes to find solace in his father’s company, realizing that perhaps their shared love for his son Noah is enough to hold on to. Narration from David Morse was perfectly suited to this story: as the moments quietly move from one to another to grab your attention and reveal their beauty: over-reaching for, or even over-emoting to any one emotion would have been tragic. Morse avoids all of those pitfalls, presenting Noah, Grandpa and Ted clearly and insets and moments with Grandma (long gone) and the ever-shrinking park are presented to show the beauty and complexity of the story without distortion. Bring tissues, lots of tissues, for the story has moments that grab and squeeze the tears from you, even as the story itself is actually affirming life, letting go and honoring the love you shared. Providing a small framework for moving forward and letting go, even as that person is right there, in front of you, not remembering. Take an hour or two from your day – find a quiet space and listen to this story. Just don’t expect to emerge untouched. I received an Audiobook copy of the title from Simon Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
lynnski0723 More than 1 year ago
What an absolutely beautiful novella, so heartfelt and touching. Based on the letter to the reader in the front of the book, I believe Mr. Backman is losing someone dear to Alzheimers himself which is why I believe there is so much compassion built into this short story. He’s pouring part of himself into Ted and Noah, the son and grandson of the older gentlemen slowly slipping away. I think this novella is a tribute to his loved one, but I’m sure many can relate to the emotions involved. When I first went to read this, it was the end of the day and I was exhausted. As impossible as it may seem for such a short book, I feel asleep while reading and thus was confused about what I had read. When I picked it back up the next day, I started over and read it straight through. I’m so glad I did. This is a story that needs to be read in one setting. You won’t want to put it down anyway, but to experience the full emotions meant to be felt, it should be read straight through. I have now read three out of four of Mr. Backman’s books and have loved each and every one. And am over the moon to hear there is a new one coming out this spring for me to enjoy as well. He just might become my new favorite author. He always manages to make me both laugh and cry all in one book. Thank you to both Simon & Schuster and Net Galley for a copy of this wonderful novella in return for an honest review. I greatly appreciate it.
Myndia More than 1 year ago
Getting old is difficult, particularly for those who suffer from dementia, who have to struggle with the loss of memories, the loss of recognition of their loved ones, and also for those who love them. This is a sweet story about how one family wrestles with the slow loss of their grandfather, father, and how the man himself struggles to come to terms with what he is going through. What a quick read! I went in knowing it was a novella, but I finished it in under 40 minutes, and felt certain part of the book must be missing. But it was 40 minutes well spent. I fell in love with Backman when I read A Man Called Ove, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this. I didn’t find it as compelling or emotional as Ove, but it was lovely and sad and hopeful. The relationship between grandfather and grandson was wonderful, the kind of relationship any child would be lucky to have. There is a lot of heart in this novella, and I’m starting to get the impression that is just Backman’s way. Loads of heart + quirky characters = everything I love about Backman. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
HalKid2 3 months ago
This is a sweet little story you can read in about an hour that lovingly describes a slow decline into dementia and its impact on a man’s family. Both tragic AND inspirational. It’s quite amazing what the author has managed to capture in such a short piece. Grandpa’s fear after the initial diagnosis, explaining what’s going to happen to his beloved grandson, how grandpa’s relationships with both son and grandson evolve as the disease advances, and how big a role love plays all along. The grandfather and grandson Noah are particularly endearing characters and the read is surprisingly emotional. Yes, I cried at the end. Like all the Backman books I’ve read, this is a winner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Almost all grown adults walk around full of regret over a good-bye they wish they’d been able to go back and say better...It's an awful thing to miss someone who's still here." This is the kind of book that you finish and hold tightly to your heart because it meant that much. Every line, every moment was absolutely beautiful. Such a small story (I listened to the audiobook in such about an hour) packs in so much heart. But don't listen to this audiobook if you are our Christmas shopping with a multitude of other people. If you do, you'll risk tearing up in the toy isle, or your eyes going red in the checkout line. (Oh wait, that was me.) The book is written in such a way to be inside the mind of a man losing his mind and trying to say goodbye to his family, his life. In the confusing way that it is written, the confusion makes perfect sense and is fascinating for the reader. My favorite scene is where he is locked inside mind, talking to his grandson, Noah. When Noah asks what is floating away, the grandfather says they are his ideas, and they've been floating away from a long, long time. With that in mind, the author's note at the opening of the book is one of the things that makes the book all that much more heart warming and lovable. “...this would be my greatest fear: imagination giving up before the body does. I guess I'm not alone in this. Humans are a strange breed in the way our fear of getting old seems to be even greater than our fear of dying.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful, insightful read that will leave you thinking after for far longer than it took you to read it. Deeply touching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ilovemister More than 1 year ago
VirtuousV More than 1 year ago
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is amongst a series of books written by the Swedish New York Times Best Selling Author, Fredrik Backman. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman is about intimate relationships, unconditional love, and patience. As the Traditionalists and Baby Boomer generations are retiring they are also living longer. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman tells of how a grandfather goes on a daily, repeat journey in his struggles with dementia. NoahNoah loves his grandfather and his grandfather loves him but NoahNoah can’t begin to understand the challenges that his grandfather is currently experiencing. Read more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Novella......way to much money for a 49 page book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written. All of his books are wonderful. Definitely my favorite author!
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Wow, I didn’t expect such an emotional punch from this small novel. I expected a great read of course since it is one of Fredrik Backman novels but seriously, I was bawling when I finally finished it. It’s a tiny book but yet so deeply charged. The love between a grandfather and his grandson, the time missed between a father and his son. I kept thinking about the words to the song, Cats in The Cradle as I composed myself numerous times as I read, pacing myself throughout this novel. It happens, unfortunately it’s happens to a lot of individuals as they begin to raise their children. We must make sacrifices for our children, time is one of them. Time goes quickly and we forget to slow down and enjoy it, to breathe and look around at the ones around us until it is too late and then they’re gone. It’s grandchildren who get rewarded in the future. Noah gets rewarded with time spent with his grandfather. They take walks or boat rides sometimes only finding their way home with a compass and a map. His grandfather is ill, his illness is taking his memories but Noah is there to help him. I loved the honesty that grandfather reveals about his relationship with his own son when grandfather was a young man. Grandfather loves his grandson dearly and you can tell that by the way he speaks with him and how he handles him like a gentle glove. He spends a great amount of time with his grandson, more time than he did with his own son as he grew up. He admits there is a difference with the two boys and it is this difference that spoke to me. His rational was not what I expected. As grandfather reminiscences about his relationship with his wife, you could feel the love and the fun that they had together. I would have loved to read a novel based on their relationship alone, what a moving novel that would have been. I loved everything about this novel. Be warned though, you will need tissues.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
“And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer” is a beautifully written novella about Alzheimer’s. It’s a one-sitting story that is unforgettable. I won’t lie; I ugly cried pretty much through the entire thing. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
IoanaN More than 1 year ago
Fredrik Backman's must-read novella is heartwarming. It's the kind of book you want to come back to again and again. It's full of small pieces of wisdom tucked between the lines the characters exchange. In true Fredrik Backman fashion, this novella makes you stop, pause and think, makes you smile, and catches you by surprise with the right phrase that is so perfectly constructed. Grandpa's brain is not what it used to be, but there is a lot going on in his brain. Noah, his grandson, is the thing that makes Grandpa want to stay present longer. Ted, Grandpa's son, didn't have the attention he wanted from his father growing up, but Noah is the receiver of all the attention Grandpa could ever give. Grandma's death left Grandpa with a hole that can only be eased over by Noah's presence. Noah and Grandpa have always been on the same page, two kindred spirits. I loved this novella! It's honestly sweet, and endearing. The characters are darling, and their lines memorable. Although you can grasp the sadness in this novella, you feel the hopeful future it tends towards. I highly recommend And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, especially to Fredrik Backman fans. Make sure you make time to not only read it, but also process it. I was contacted by the publisher via Net Galley and offered a free e-book copy of this book. All thoughts expressed here are my own.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
When I saw a book available for request by Fredrik Backman, I immediately requested it. I absolutely love his books. I didn't look at the description or anything. This one happens to be a novella and I was pretty glad about that. It's about an older man who has Alzheimer's disease. It is terribly sad. I don't think I could go through a whole book that reads like this. I know that's horrible to say because there are a lot of people who go through life like that. However, a book should be entertainment. I will say that it was very well written and definitely captures the disease through the words of the grandpa and the frustrations of the son. As I said, it is terribly sad and well written. I still recommend it, as it is Fredrik Bachman and his unique writing style is one not to be missed. Thanks Atria Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
ReadingwithPugs More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this short read but it was very sad at the same time. Grandpa is trying to explain to his grandson, NoahNoah about his illness and how he won't be him for much longer. Grandpa sees Grandma and she tires to help him through this heartbreaking time. (Grandma passed away a long time ago). It was enjoyable but heartbreaking as we see the illness in it's true form. We see Grandpa not recognizing his own son and talking to his son about his son thinking that he is talking to a stranger. We see Grandpa remembering good times with Grandma and how much he loved her and the beautiful memories he has of his son as a little guy. All while this is going on it seems that Grandpa is just stuck in a moment, but before you know it Noah is grown up and has a daughter of his own. We are introduced to all the places in Grandpa's mind that he remembers and mostly they are good times. We see how scared Grandpa is of losing everyone and not knowing where he is and who he's with. The writing was beautiful and real.