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Crossings

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,223 ratings  ·  691 reviews
SHORTLISTED FOR THE VOSS LITERARY AWARD 2020
LONGLISTED FOR THE INDIE BOOK AWARD FOR DEBUT FICTION 2020

I didn't write this book. I stole it...


A Parisian bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript containing three stories, each as unlikely as the other.

The first, 'The Education of a Monster', is a letter penned by the poet Charles Baudelaire to an illiterate girl. The second, '
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Picador Australia
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Jennifer I've read it both ways, and read it from the beginning ie page 1 to the end as a conventional book first. It made sense very well this way, but left m…moreI've read it both ways, and read it from the beginning ie page 1 to the end as a conventional book first. It made sense very well this way, but left me with unanswered questions, about sequences, so then I read the Baronness' sequence. I ended up with a very good understanding of the progress after this, and would recommend doing it this way to anyone interested. At the end of the second reading, taking notes along the way, I was able to produce a sort of map of the progress through lives of the souls. Let me know if you'd like me to upload a copy for you to have a look at, after you've finished reading.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Alex Landragin Yes, and also because Koahu's first crossing was interrupted.…moreYes, and also because Koahu's first crossing was interrupted.(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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karen
NOW AVAILABLE!!!

once upon a time, i read Hopscotch, cortazar’s fan-favoritiest novel, and i did it aaaaalllll wrong. i misunderstood the rules and thought i was supposed to read the whole novel like a regular book and then go back and reread it using the page-order laid out in the “Table of Instructions” to “hopscotch” back through the story, and i don’t know what i thought would be revealed by this double-dip method, but it’s what i did and BOY, was i pissed to discover it was meant to be an ei
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s.penkevich
Will I see you again only in eternity?

Souls traveling across time and space yearning for the other is always a good emotional nail to hang a novel upon. While it has been done before, Alex Landragin breathes new life into the conceit with his well-plotted puzzlebox of a debut novel Crossings. The novel, which tells the tale of entities that make ‘crossings’ between bodies with other’s consciousness (to tell any more would give too much away), plays with other notions of crossings both thematic
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Fran
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Rare books can bring out the worst in people".

The Baroness had an impressive private library of material pertaining to Charles Baudelaire. She asked an acclaimed bookbinder "to bind a looseleaf manuscript-no constraints of time or money-a priceless manuscript...one condition...I was not to read its contents". The Baroness was later found murdered, her eyes gouged out. "Could the murder of the Baroness be connected somehow with the manuscript now lying in my safety deposit box?" I was now free t
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Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
I tried as I got myself up to 30% and when you push aside a book ten times in an hour to check your phone, you know that this one is just not for you!
Krystal
I am more confused than impressed.

And this is an impressive novel. The scope is massive and the ambition is there, and the stories weave through generations and tell a rather epic tale.

Yet it feels unfinished to me.

The idea: A technique known as Crossing allows a person to transfer their soul into another body. It's an exchange that can either be done with both people aware of it, with neither aware, or with one aware while the other remains unaware. The tale of Crossings is broken into three pa
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Faith
“During a crossing, one enters into a body and inherits its capacities and incapacities, its appetites and proclivities. But one also enters into a mind. When I crossed with Feuille, I brought with me all the memories I had accumulated in the course of my previous two lifetimes. I also inherited a corpus of new memories, the memories of this new me, all its pleasures and tribulations, its qualities and flaws.”

This is a book about the transmigration of souls between living people, referred to as
...more
Nicki Markus
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Crossings was an inventive and captivating read. In the end I decided to read the work in the back-and-forth approach, and I enjoyed seeing how the stories within the three distinct works intertwined. This is a book that would have taken a lot of planning, and, being a pantster myself, I applaud Landragin for that. The characters and situations are interesting, and I particularly appreciated the way historical personages and events wove through the narrative. In the future I would like to reread ...more
Sarah
This is a cleverly-constructed historical epic, spanning the 18th, 19th, 20th and (in the prologue) 21st centuries and settings encompassing Western Europe, North America and the South Pacific. My first reading was in the conventional sequence (i.e. starting at page 1 and reading straight to the end). After waiting about a month, I've re-read the book in the alternative "Baroness Sequence" suggested in the prologue.
The brief prologue introduces the book as a mysterious bundle of manuscripts deli
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AnnaLuce
Alex Landragin has written an ambitious tale, one that begins with the following line: “I didn't write this book. I stole it.”
This prologue, written by a bookbinder, tells us of how this manuscript has come to be in his hands. The manuscript in question comprises three seemingly separate books: 'The Education of a Monster' written and narrated by Charles Baudelaire, 'City of Ghosts' which consists in diary entries from Walter Benjamin, and 'Tales of the Albatross' which follows Alula, who lives
...more
Blair
The preface frames Crossings as a three-part manuscript in the possession of a Parisian bookbinder. The narrator explains that he came to possess it by way of a collector nicknamed the Baroness, who died – or was murdered – days after delivering it to him. It consists of 'The Education of a Monster', a horror story ostensibly written by Charles Baudelaire; 'City of Ghosts', a noirish tale narrated by Walter Benjamin; and 'Tales of the Albatross', the account of woman named Alula, a 'deathless en ...more
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to St Martin's Press for the early copy! It is the uncorrected manuscript form so if I mention something that doesn't make sense in a later version, this could be why!

The first word that comes to my blown mind after finishing this book is "epic". I read it in the Baroness sequence, so it read as a pair of lovers' souls that are body hopping across countries and centuries trying to right the wrong they did by stealing bodies in the first place. The reviews I think will be very
...more
Wendy
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, read it in the “choose your adventure mode” and will now read it in the the three different manuscripts,
Chrissie
With a fascinating concept and execution, the structure is either entertainingly crosshatched or straightforward—depending on the method you choose. With all the feel of an adult Choose Your Own Adventure story, without having to actually go through the tedium of choosing. The Baroness Sequence Pagination is one of the two methods of reading through the story, and those sections end with a simple "Go here" link that takes you to the next appropriate section. (I did have some technical difficulti ...more
Ruth
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a big fan of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton), The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Claire North) and The Starless Sea (Erin Morgenstern). This feels like Australia's answer to those books and I loved it!

This book is three novellas that can be taken as completely seperate stories. However there's an alternative way of reading it where you jump from chapter to chapter across the three stories to read one cohesive novel. Don't worry, this is all explained in the prolog
...more
Kasa Cotugno
Truly original in concept and execution, this tour de force took me right out of the negativity of today and into another universe. Part Scherezade, a bit of Cloud Atlas, even a little 1Q84. Not my usual choice, but I found it a great escape.
Nursebookie
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crossings
Alex Landragin

Sometimes you read a book so special you just stop and say, WOW no further words needed. This is one of them.

I read this through chronologically as I was also listening to the audiobook which was amazing. I plan to read this in the future again with the chapters out of order (Baroness’ sequence) to experience this book again in a different light.

The writing is simply divine and the language beautiful. It is a genre all on its own with sprinkling of fantasy and magical,
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(inactive)
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Beautiful. Slow. Dull.

The concept of this novel is what originally drew me in. The idea of having a book be read two different ways, one of which involves a choose your own adventure type of navigation, was genius. I chose to try out the Baroness sequence (which is explained in the prologue), and after reading such a strong beginning, I was ready to devour the story and give it five stars.

Alas, I couldn't even get through the novel in it's entirety.

The prose was lovely, but every little thing wa
...more
Krista
Rating: 4.5 stars rounded down to 4 clever, clever stars

As my rating attests, I think that this is a CLEVER, CLEVER book. This debut novel by Alex Landragin is both mind-bending and genre bending. It has elements of Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, and Memoir genres. The book can be read in a couple of ways. The three novellas can be read in order straight through, or you can read it in the ‘Baroness’ order.

I read the book in the Baroness order. This order hopscotches bac
...more
Michelle
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unusual-novels, paris
A brilliantly complex, beautifully written narrative about shifting identities, spanning decades and continents. It was especially interesting in my current state of lockdown in Paris to read about Paris on the eve of occupation. We have been on lockdown for 26 days. Each morning, I run down the middle of Boulevard Hoche en route to the Arc de Triomphe, the end of the 1km I am allowed to travel from my apartment for exercise. At one point in the book, one of the characters remarks on the strange ...more
Paloma
“Perhaps the spectrum of love is broader than we think, and it is possible to fall in love with a story, or a song, or a film, or painting, the way one falls in love with another person, only one assumes it is the storyteller one is in love with, the singer, the actor or the artist, because the thought hasn’t occur to us that it is possible to fall in love ith a thing.”

This is an extraordinary book that completely surprised me – it is a one of a kind story and I am really looking forward to
...more
Jenny Lawson
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an inventive and unusual story. I kept racing to the computer to look up which parts were real.
Betsy Robinson
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First and most important, if you want to read this book, read a hard copy—not an ebook and certainly not an audiobook. The reason is that in a front-of-book note, there are optional chapter orders to read. Front to back is one way. I chose the other suggested way (and there are even more alternatives, but they are not delineated by “go to page” instructions). I cannot imagine doing this via any other form of the book. I chose the way that promised to make this into a cogent novel—the way that an ...more
Radwa
Uh, is this a new favorite of the year? and maybe of all time? why, yes!

This book ticks all my boxes, there's fantasy/magical realism, there's two different ways to read it, it's like a saga spanning so many years, and lifetimes!

This book starts as the bind-up of 3 manuscripts a baroness left to a book binder to make them into one book, and he prefaces the story of the baroness and tells us that there are two ways to read this book or "manuscript". The book is clearly divided into 3 parts: "The
...more
Lee
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an ARC provided by Net Galley. I loved this book so much that I have already pre ordered the hardback for when it comes out. It is a new and wonderful take on time travel - kind of... There is a group of people who live on an undiscovered island in Oceania where they are carefully trained in the art of "crossing", an exchange of souls between two people. You are supposed to exchange back, but when these island people are discovered by some French sailors, unfortunate circumstances lead ...more
Vonda
Apr 13, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This book is part fiction, part historical fiction, part paranormal, part suspense, all wrapped up together into a masterpiece. There are three separate stories that seem in no way to intertwine and then you get an "oh wow" moment. This has to be one of the most unique books I have ever read. Besides reading the book as 3 separate stories you can start further back in the book and read ever other page and it becomes a single novel. Sheer genius and highly enjoyable. ...more
Phyllis
Well then. It's a little difficult to assess where I've been on my first reading of this layers upon layers of a book. One thing is for certain: this is a gobsmacker of a debut novel by Mr. Landragin.

First reading, from page 1 to the end.

The preface to the story (or stories) sets us up to understand what we are about to read. The balance of the book is, the preface tells us, the content of a bound manuscript, all hand-written in three parts, that seems to carry danger with it wherever it appears
...more
Todd Stockslager
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Review title: Literary thriller

I don't often read new fiction, but the description of this debut novel intrigued me enough to try it. Alex Landragin has closely crafted a thriller that relies on plotting and pacing to deliver a punch that didn't land as strongly as I hoped.

Using the well-worn trope of a found manuscript, the novel begins with a preface describing the three components of the manuscript: a new short ghost story attributed to 19th century French author Charles Baudelaire, a new rom
...more
The Starry Library
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
'Crossings' is a layered story about the perilous journey of souls, eyes, book binding, and poetry. It’s an inventive book that can be read two ways. The first way is called ‘The Baroness Sequence’ which begins on page 150 and at the end, prompts you to the next chapter in the book. This way, it can be read as a time travel tale, hopping from different characters and time periods, linked together with details that writes its own over-arching story within the book. The second way to read the book ...more
Kate
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Y'all this book is pure gold.

There are two ways from which you can choose to read it, or go crazy and read it twice, once each way!
You can read it is if it were a normal book (which it is, kinda, but also isn't) cover to cover. If you choose this way the book reads as a series of loosely connected short story collections. Or, you can read it the Baroness Sequence Pagination, aka seemingly all over the place; however, this way, it reads as a novel brilliantly weaving together generations of stor
...more
Ari Levine
3.5 stars. An enjoyable but overly gimmicky David Mitchell homage, with two separate choose-your-own-adventure paths for the reader to follow. Being stodgy and lame, I read it from cover to cover instead of bravely hopscotching forth on the Baroness Sequence, but maybe that would have enhanced the experience of reading this literary-ish attempt at a thriller. The novel contains three distinct narratives: the first a scenery-chewing confession by a depraved Charles Baudelaire in exile, the second ...more
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Fantastic Strange...: Discussion about Crossings by Alex Landragin 6 23 Jan 26, 2021 05:02PM  

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Alex Landragin is a French-Armenian-Australian writer. Currently based in Melbourne, Australia, he has also resided in Paris, Marseille, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Charlottesville. He has previously worked as a librarian, an indigenous community worker, and an author of Lonely Planet travel guides in Australia, Europe and Africa. Alex holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Melbou ...more

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