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Through a Glass, Darkly

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  7,121 ratings  ·  456 reviews
It's almost Christmas. Cecilia lies sick in bed as her family bustle around her to make her last Christmas as special as possible. Cecilia has cancer. An angel steps through her window. So begins a spirited and engaging series of conversations between Cecelia and her angel. As the sick girl thinks about her life and prepares for her death, she changes subtly, in herself an ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 4th 1999 by Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  7,121 ratings  ·  456 reviews


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Em
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
So there's an angel and a sick girl who discuss heaven, creation and earth while sneaking out into winter nights ... if you haven't read Jostein Gaarder before that must've seemed pretty strange. Also, if you haven't read Jostein Gaarder before you're missing out on something wonderful. As with all of his books he writes children like he is one. There's a beautiful innocence and curiosity about his protagonists that you can easily get carried away with. He's also very fond of philosophy but in t ...more
Teresa
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A sweet story with beautiful thoughts and ideas, but one that is executed in a way that is just not to my taste. I've never cared for novels that are really a dialogue between two individuals to get across the author's philosophy or viewpoint. Perhaps I'd have felt differently if I could've read this when I was young. ...more
Iva Kenaz
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-age-fiction
I've returned to this novel many times. It used to be one of my favourite reads in childhood and I still adore it. I can't imagine anyone not liking this book. ...more
Saravannan
Nov 11, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophical
I was not halfway thru the book when I knew I would not like it and I was quite right. I was quite disappointed with the book. It has no plot what so ever. It has 2 individual talking about life, heaven, God, and things like that. I think this book is meant to make us think, provoke our thoughts, and make us wonder. And quite honestly, it didn’t. In fact, I think some of the statements contradict with each other.

For example, Ariel states that God was very tired after the 7th day (after creating
...more
Binibining `E (of The Ugly Writers)
"Did you know that something can be so nice it almost hurts?"

Because you can't run away from your own souls. You can't bite your own tails. Or perhaps that's exactly what you do: you bite your own tails until you shout and scream in fear and terror.

The story was about the everyday conversation between an Angel and a sick little girl. This was very touching, very soulful and beautiful. It touched me and was in awe.

It kind of made me sad in the end though. It was all about life, death and
...more
Charlotte
I read this book the summer after my grandmother died, it helped me. I remember sitting outside reading and beginning to cry, I think it is a very touching book, without being sentimental.

The book adress some very serious themes, but the language remains easy to read. The book asks a lot of questions and doesn't give all the answers, it makes you think and reach your own conclusions.

I have read a lot of Jostein Gaarder's books and generally I like them, and "I et spejl, i en gåde" is definitely
...more
Nancy
As Cecelia lies dying of a form of childhood cancer, she is visted by the Angel Ariel. Together they discuss what it means to be human, what it means to have a soul and how humans and angels differ. This is a sweet and sad book, although it is a bit too religious for my tastes. It didn't really come close to Sophie's World. ...more
Catherine
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
A curious book. It made me think a lot about The God Delusion and His Dark Materials and Stranger Things - hidden dimensions that may exist. The most interesting thought was about how dreams, imagination and memory work.
Nina
Can you blame me if I want something less, well, divine from this story? It is Josten Gaarder's first book I've ever read, and I don't feel like reading her other book. It was a good read, but I was bored and I wasn't feeling anything when I read this.

What helps me through is my curiosity to Cecilia and Ariel's ending. But then again, the whole book made me think some stupid questions like, "hell, what in the world is Cecilia thinking?" or "what is she doing?" or worse, "why is she such a grim g
...more
Eline
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Before I started reading this book, I knew I could expect lots and lots of philosophic thoughts in a book by Jostein Gaarder. I knew it would make me think about things I will never understand and maybe even don't want to understand. Nevertheless I started reading this little book "Through a glass, darkly".

Though the story is a little dark and sad, there are some deep thoughts in it. Most of these thought are really Christian ideas about heaven and God. I believe that non-Christian people won't
...more
Huda Hassan
"Did you know that something can be so nice it almost hurts?"
Because you can't run away from your own souls. You can't bite your own tails. Or perhaps that's exactly what you do: you bite your own tails until you shout and scream in fear and terror.

"Flesh and blood are no more than earth and water, after all. But God has breathed some of his spirit into you. That is why there is a part of you that is God"..

The book has aroused that inescapable feeling of being lost in my ignorance.
I felt like
...more
luscious
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Since I lost my mother last year, I've been more or less on the prowl for novels that chronicle loss and the experience of letting someone go. However, I'm more interested in how the person who is actually forced to leave this world experiences all this as I watched my mom go through it all.

Jostein Gaarder succeeded in establishing the realm in which Cecilia finds herself as she is facing the inevitable. I really liked the shifts we can see her go into, all the while she's uttering things that m
...more
Trine
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite book throughout the last years of "barneskolen". I must have read it at least seven times. It was just beautiful. Too bad none of the Taylighters aside from Nico and I (who I assume has read it, too) can get the chance to read it.

EDIT: Found the English translation. It's called "Through a glass, darkly". Read it!
...more
Elie
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cecilia, for u i no longer live in the confines of my head. I will soar high in the cosmos, where we shall me meet.

The ice is leaving the river...
Leonie
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay, I'm crying. This book was so precious. I don't really know what to say. There are too many thoughts in my head right now. Being a human really is remarkable. ...more
Samantha
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars - felt a lot like The Alchemist, and I found that boring as batshit. An intriguing short story to read at Christmas time, with occasional heart-tugging moments with the main premise being about a terminally ill child, but felt like an attempted work at philosophy that doesn't quite hit the mark. I adored a number of Gaarder's novels Sophie's World and the Ringmaster's Daughter as a teenager, but his shorter stories that centre on Christmas have all felt a bit flat. I still have The Sol ...more
Sandra
I picked up this book because I thought the title was very interesting. I was happily surprised that it had a sort of Christmas theme in it. It fits with the time of year, after all!

Another thing that surprised me was that this wasn't an easy book to read at all. I had thought this to be a book for kids or young adults, but I've read literary articles that were easier to read than this book. I think that's just personal preference however: most of this book, at least the most important part of
...more
Ellen-Arwen Tristram
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread, reviewed
I reread this as a sort of warm-up to embarking on Sophie's World, which I have meant to read for rather a lot of years! I first read this when I was about eight or nine and I remember the huge impact it had on me then.

It's a compact, dense little book - although it is aimed at younger readers, there's a lot contained within the pages. It tells the story of Cecilia (or Cecille, in some translations, I believe) who is terminally ill and visited by an angel, Ariel. Basically, they philosophise abo
...more
Aaron Jesko
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This little book does give food for thought. It’s a book for young readers and adults alike. And it’s for those who like the quiet stories.

In the story a young sick girl gets visited by an angel. They discuss heaven and earth, God and creation. It’s clear from the beginning, the girl is preparing for her departure from the physical realm. The angel is here to help her come to terms with her situation.

The story is a sweet idea and the questions discussed run deep, no doubt about that. But someh
...more
Eleanor Toland
A slender book telling a deceptively simple story: the conversations between a terminally ill young girl and the angel who appears to comfort her as she lies bedridden and dying in the days before Christmas. Considering the subject matter, the writing is remarkably unsentimental. Cecelia and her guardian angel Ariel are complex, real characters. Cecelia's alternate states of denial, bitterness and calm resignation towards her fate are heart-rendingly convincing, and Ariel is one of the most orig ...more
Hanna-Dora
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Jostein Gaarder is one of my favourite authors and I admire him deeply for bringing philosophy closer to children and writing young adult books that deal with so many difficult and profound ideas. This book of his is no exception, although I have to admit it was a bit too religious for my taste. I consider myself a religious person, but regardless of that, I think the book should have been more open about its ideas of the afterlife, more mysterious and vague. Apart from that, the story itself - ...more
Felicity Terry
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With an almost child-like, old-fashioned simplicity, Through A Glass Darkly is beautifully spiritual, philosophical, insightful and sentimental and yet never mushy.

The story of a young terminally ill girl (Cecilia) who, one Christmas, is befriended by an angel (Arial) the story is complex in so far as it takes a look at what it is to be human whist at the same time exploring life after death which though never overtly 'preachy' is told from a fairly religious point on view that might not appeal
...more
Rebecca Johnson
Nov 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
Okay, I’ll come clean, I have never actually read Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World. I know everyone always recommends it, it’s always on every book list I ever come across and, to make matters worse, I even have my own copy that I bought from the Penrith Library. I just never managed to get the whole way through it, I will try again … but not today. Anyways, when I saw this book sitting next to it on the shelf at the library I decided to give this, decidedly smaller (and much more manageable) on ...more
Kathlene
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
My friend force me to read this.. I'm not a book worm, in exam I only used my stock knowledge kind'a lazy.. but somehow I don't know why I grab this book with out thinking.. I'm not interested in books without pictures or colored one.. When I was a child my father bought me fairytales bookz as in always... Colored, few words and with pictures easy to digest of my imagination. Same as the book of fables until highschool. When I was in my college days I preferred to read Reader's Digest I love tha ...more
Marlyn Pardosi
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is dialogue between cecilia and ariel. I like the story but how I really wish I have read this when I was about 10 years old. I think Im gonna adore the story more. This book gives you the perspective of angel and human that you have never think before. Well, if I have a kid one day, Im gonna ask them to read this when they are still kids.
heidi
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
A weird reading experience from Jostein Gaarder, and not in a good way. I mean, Gaarder specializes in weird. He is good at placing an engaging character (usually teenagers or young adults) in weird circumstances that causes them to question their existence. This book does the same, but I didn't want to care about Cecilia and her fate. The dialogues between Cecilia and the angel Ariel did nothing for me either.

I'm not sure if the charm of Gaarder's prose had been lost in translation, or if the C
...more
Inez
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it
As the Indonesian edition for this book is titled "Dunia Sesilia" and mentioned as the sequel of Sophie's World, I kinda hoped that it was as complicated as Sophie. It turned out much simple--yet still philosophical.

And like any other "what if" stories, this novel made me questioning some of the things happening in this world--especially about the relationship between human and God. Although Gaarder used Christian point of view in this book, I still got the message.

Unfortunately, the plot's quit
...more
Suci
I felt so weird as soon as I reached the end part of the book. Agape. Astonished.
It's just beautiful and...
Heart-warming.
Ariel is indeed an inspiration and salute fot ya! He made me feel grateful of this life. I have all 5 senses and able to use it wholly.

You will probably find the first part of this book boring. Like you would ask, 'what's the point of telling me that?' I even stopped reading for 2 days!
Then as soon as you dig deeper, deeper through the book, you will understand where the co
...more
Elaine Oliveira
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's by Gaarder, it's philosophical.

This is Cecilie’s story. She’s a young girl who was faced with terminal cancer. We meet Cecilie at Christmas time, when her time on Earth is about to end, and follow her secret meetings with Ariel, an angel with sapphire-coloured eyes that comes to guide her to the other side.

It’s a short book, and once again Gaarder raises questions for us to ponder about. Hopefully, we'll all have improved ourselves a little by the end of it. Or, in the least, we'll be willi
...more
Ape
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scandinavia
2007 bookcrossing review:

This isn't a long book so it didn't take so long to read. To be honest, not my favourite of Gaarder's books so far. Interesting, but nothing new for him, and the god-religious aspect did get a bit repetitive. Also, you could tell that it was a non-native English speaker who had translated this book but in some ways it made it feel more like it was a Norwegian who was telling this story.

Basically it's about a series of conversations between the angel Ariel and a little dy
...more
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Around the World: Norway: Louise recommends Through a Glass Darkly 1 7 Nov 18, 2011 11:07AM  

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Jostein Gaarder is a Norwegian intellectual and author of several novels, short stories, and children's books. Gaarder often writes from the perspective of children, exploring their sense of wonder about the world. He often uses meta-fiction in his works, writing stories within stories.

Gaarder was born into a pedagogical family. His best known work is the novel Sophie's World, subtitled "A Novel a
...more

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