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A Bridge to the Stars (Joel Gustafsson #1)

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  782 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
This poignant novel explores how a unilateral decision can change a life.

Two things are hard for Joel Gustafson to cope with: not knowing why, and not being able to do anything about it. Joel’s father was once a sailor who lived by the sea. Joel’s mother once lived with them. Joel’s father abandoned the sea. Joel’s mother abandoned Joel and his father.

While looking out hi
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30)
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Franco  Santos
Es un libro infantil para adultos. En partes se me hizo un poco aburrido, pero en general es una gran historia, con personajes profundos y conmovedores. Un fiel retrato del universo de la niñez.
This short novel by Swedish writer Henning Mankell is the first of several books about Joel, a 12 year old growing up in a remote part of Northern Sweden with his father. It is followed by a second book, Shadows in the Twilight and most recently, The Boy Who Slept in the Snow (also known as When the Snow Fell).

This book is not very similar to other works by Mankell, except that it is highly sensitive and insightful of character and setting (traits which make even the grisly murders and detectiv
Noella  Van Looy
Het verhaal gaat eigenlijk over een 11jarige jongen die alleen woont met zijn vader. Zijn moeder is weggegaan toen hij nog heel klein was. De jongen worstelt met zichzelf en met zijn situatie en trekt zich graag terug in een fantasiewereld waarin hij op een schip zit. Hij fantaseert ook dat hij een geheim genootschap opricht dat op zoek gaat naar een hond die hij op een nacht vanuit zijn raam zag lopen.

Ik vind eigenlijk dat het boek meer de fantasie van een 7-8 jarige weergeeft, maar de jongen
Paul Servini
Aug 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I warmed to this story despite having misgivings at first. The highly-strung, very imaginative Joel is painted very well.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
A Henning Mankell se le conoce por sus novelas negras protagonizadas por el inspector Wallander. Yo no había leído nada de él, pero es precisamente porque éste título se distancia tanto de lo que normalmente escribe, por lo que me vi atraída por "El perro que corría hacia una estrella" (que es el título traducido al español). Se podría clasificar en el género juvenil.

Joel tiene 11 años y vive, junto a su padre, en un pequeño y perdido pueblo de Suecia, donde siempre hace frío y donde sus días se
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to see that this was originally a foreign book, translated into english. I found the wording interesting and fresh---not written in the usual way. On the back cover, however, the discription is a little too overdone: "If he hadn't seen that solitary dog, nothing might have happened. Nothing of what later became so important that it changed everything. Nothing of what was so exciting at first, but became so horrible..." I never discovered the horrible part---and although I am ashamed to ...more
Michele Weiner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting departure for Mankell. This is the inaugural story about Joel Gustafson, an 11 year old boy living in northern Sweden with his father. Mankell captures the thoughts and feelings of this young boy lyrically in this meandering saga of one winter's events. I suspect we will see Joel grow into a man over the years.

Audiobook. The Australian accent was distracting for Mark, but overall a pleasant experience.
Jun 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A boy looks out on a Swedish winter night and sees a lone elkhound running toward a star. He follows it on subsequent nights and lives partially in a dreamland and partially in reality. Wonderfully written and poignant.
Petya Kokudeva
Вече не знам дали ще мога да погледна към звездите, без да се сетя за Юел и кучето...

Едва ли има друга детска книга, в чийто главен герой да се виждам така досущ отразена, мене си. Прозаичен повод за харесване на книга вероятно, но ...хич не ми пука:)
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Много тъга, преживяна и прекрасно описана, има в тази книга ...
Jessie Thomas
There are some books that I don't mind giving one or two stars to, because I honestly think they're poorly written or whatever. With this book, though, I feel bad about it, because I just never really connected with it or got interested in the story, but I get the feeling it was really more about me not paying enough attention or something rather than it being inherently bad. So I know it's my problem, not the book's or the author's, and I feel really mean for giving it a bad score, but I couldn ...more
رومولا الن
تعيدك هذه الروايه الى ايام طفولتك
جويل فتى يعيش بقريه بعيده بالسويد والده كان بحارا لكنه لان يعمل حطابا بتلك القريه بعيدا عن البحر
يحلم جويل ان يذهب اهو وابيه الى البحر ويخوضون المغامرات التي حدثه عنها ابيه

في يوم جليدي بارد يرى حويل كلبا امام بيته يبدو خائفا فيقرر ان يبحثه عنه

من هنا يبدا بالخروج عند منتصف الليل فيخوض مغامرات ممتعه

احببت شخصية جويل وايضا العربجي العجوز

رايه لا تمل من قراءته
Joan F C
Aug 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No lo he podido acabar...aburrido y lento. Apunta pero no avanza...buf...
Kathleen Hagen
A Bridge to the Stars, by Henning Mankell, the first in the Joel Gustafson series mentioned above. Narrated by Francis Greenslade, produced by Bolinda Publishing, downloaded from

In this book we meet Joel who is eleven. He lives alone with his father. His mother abandoned them many years ago. Then, a couple of things start to happen which Joel must deal with. For one thing, his father starts to date a waitress at the neighborhood bar, and sometimes spends the night with her. Joel mus
M.J. Fiori
Aug 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was 85% through this book when I put it down for good. I never stop in the middle of books. This book was simply THAT BAD.

I started reading the book in the mistaken belief that it was a Kurt Wallender mystery. In fact, it is one of a series of coming-of-age tales with an 11-year-old boy, Joel, at their center. Joel lives with his dad in the far, cold north of Sweden, eats boiled potatoes every night for dinner, wonders about his absent mom, and wanders the streets at the witching hour as part
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lij, suecia
Muchos sentimientos encontrados con esta lectura. Creo que hasta que Joel no visita el lago de los Cuatro Vientos no me emocionó apenas nada. Ture me caía mal, pero Joel no me caía mucho mejor. Es cierto que mi estado emocional me está influyendo mucho en lo que veo y en lo que leo esta semana, pero en esa primera parte sentía tal decepción que estuve a un tris de dejarlo... aunque fuera para otro momento.

La segunda parte mucho mejor, cuando empieza el crecimiento, el despertar. Unos personajes
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gole-man
ناکهان مدرسه تمام می شود.و تعطیلات آن قدر به سرعت از را همی رسد که جوئل تا قبل از بیدار شدن و فکر کردن به اینکه دیگر نباید به مدرسه برود، متوجه آن نمی شود. از تخت بیرون می پرد، لباسش را می پوشد و روی دوچرخه اش می پرد و به راه می افتد. تابستان چقدر بلند است. دیگر جوئل سگی را که در راه رسیدن به یک ستاره است نمی بیند. جوئل فکر می کند حتمن آن سگ چنان سریع دویده که تا حالا به ستاره ی خودش رسیده است. به نظرش این یک فکر بچه گانه است ، نه فکر کسی که به زودی دوازده ساله خواهد شد. با این همه ستاره ای ر
Eleven-year-old Joel Gustafuson is at an awkward age. He is still very imaginative but sees he will soon grow up and give up childish ways. During the winter of this story, Joel, begins to explore his world and test the boundaries of life in his small, isolated village. He uneasily befriends a new boy in town who pushes him to do things he doesn't feel sure about such as put ants in the kitchen of a lonely local woman who is outcast because of a physical deformity. He also worries constantly ab ...more
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, read-in-2008
Joel is almost twelve and desperately wants something to happen. His mother left a long time ago and it's just Joel and Samuel, his father, now. One night Joel wakes up and sees a dog wandering the streets--Joel feels that this dog is very special and is following a star. From that point on Joel is determined to find the dog and sets up his own secret society (membership: one) to find it. But in the midst of this he discovers that he is not the only one with a secret--his father is missing some ...more
Lara Vehar
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story about a young boy Joel whose mother left him and whose father works in woods. Now he is scared that his father will leave him too. He meets a new friend that is sadly not the right for him - Ture - he is trying to scare the other people in town which is something that Joel doesn't want to do. In the end he nearly dies while climibing on a bridge as a part of the pact that they made and he decides to stay away from him. He ends up making two other friends instead - one being an ...more
I love Henning Mankell's writing, and his ability to craft characters and situations that draw you into a story. This one's a bit different from many of the books of his that I've read, in that it is about a twelve year old boy in northern Sweden, and doesn't involve murder or detective-work. Instead, it is a examination of life and connections, father-son, friends, the past, and is a gently told story of Joel's life, as he comes to terms with some various aspects of his world. I noticed somewhe ...more
Mar 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit
I didn't like the main character Joel very much, and the narration felt detached, so it was a hard book to like. I was surprised to see there will be a sequel in July 2008. Joel comes across as very self-centered, a dreamer but in a naive/childish way. The book has some qualities of a Cormier book (Ture wanting to create fear and the secret society at night), but it never reaches a climax like a Cormier book.

There were characters I liked--Gertrud and the man who drove around at night in his lorr
Nov 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some very stirring scenes in this one, though inconsistent. A young boy, unhappy because his mother has left him and his father, falls under the spell of a friend. Together the two flirt with evil . . . our hero drawn in by the spell the other boys casts on him. The climactic scene--our hero climbs a railway trestle because of a dare--is wonderful, but too much of the book is predictable. Unhappy boy meets eccentric adults (noseless woman, crazy man) who show him that life encompasses more than ...more
Петър Панчев
Малко детски книги могат да накарат възрастен човек да се огледа в мислите на едно малко момче. Юел Гюставсон има безброй въпроси и сам търси отговор на всички. Не винаги приема "странните" отговори на възрастните, но е готов да зададе следващия въпрос - на себе си (засега).

Юел се събужда от неспокоен сън и сяда до прозореца. Навън е снежна нощ. Там е силуета на кучето, което бяга нанякъде. Небето е изпъстрено със звезди. Ако го проследи, може да стигне
Vania Prodanova
Приказна история за малко самотно момче в малко студено градче. Книгата е написана така, че с всяка дума и следваща страница да усещаш самотата и всички останали емоции, които изпитва момчето по време на търсенето на специалното сиво куче. Единствено, ми е трудно да приема края, който дава надежда по един особен и наивен начин, при все пак, че книгата е с идеята да представя един по-истински поглед. Някак си реалността не е толкова приказна или просто съм твърде голяма, за да вярвам в по-доброто ...more
Catherine Woodman
One of the more unusual children's book trilogies that I have read. Joel and his father Samuel have been left by Joel's mother, and they are neither of them very happy about it. THey are both irritable about what they have to do as a result of the abandonment, and they are not a good team. When Samuel begins to flirt with Sara, Joel gets almost murderous in his anger at both her and his father. The story takes place in 1050's rural Sweden, and the thoughts of the characters lend a bleakness to t ...more
Virginia Walter
I'm crazy about Henning Mankell's adult mysteries about the Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander. This novel for children -- not so much. Joel's situation is touching -- living with a remote father who can't or won't tell him anything about the mother who abandoned them. His behavior, however, doesn't ring true; he seems both younger and older than an eleven-year-old boy. The cold nothern Sweden setting lends atmosphere, but the plot never really takes off.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I remember having to read this in school, and maybe that's what ruined it for me. I was twelve years old at the time, and when I read what the main character was thinking, I just found it really odd. "I don't think like that!", I thought.
I think this book is definitely better suited for adult readers than children. I don't think I'll give it another try, but I'm still glad that so many people seem to like it.
Gordon Vivace
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mankell's books are translated into English in Europe, which means to an America reader they are almost translated twice. In these translations, no doubt, a fair amount of nuance evaporates. Still, the almost childlike result conveys a detail and depth that speaks to Mankell's brilliance as a writer. He's a true story teller, whether writing of a horrific murder or a child's nightly fantasies. I recommend anything by him.
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Henning Mankell was an internationally known Swedish crime writer, children's author and playwright. He was best known for his literary character Kurt Wallander.

Mankell split his time between Sweden and Mozambique. He was married to Eva Bergman, Swedish director and daughter of Ingmar Bergman.
More about Henning Mankell...

Other Books in the Series

Joel Gustafsson (4 books)
  • Shadows in the Twilight
  • When the Snow Fell
  • Journey to the End of the World (Joel Gustafsson #4)

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“Ако ми се беше развикала, щях да си плюя на петите - помисли си Юел. - Но как да избягам от жена, която изглежда толкова тъжна?” 3 likes
“Сам съм си майка.” 2 likes
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