Customer Reviews


81 Reviews
5 star:
 (65)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-modern fairytale
The Solitaire Mystery follows a young boy, Hans Thomas, and his father on their way to find their runaway mother. Along the way, they encounter various people, each connected by a strange world long ago, leading ultimately to the unraveling of the mysterious pasts of Hans and his family.
The Solitaire Mystery explores the strange world of coincidences and...
Published on May 21 2004 by szng

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's readable but...
The Solitaire Mystery is a good book to read with a dark side to it and little to none philosophy in it. It tells two stories one of a Norwegian boy goin on a trip with his father to find his mother who left them and went to Greece and another story which the little boy reads from a tiny book. The heart of the story is Hans Thomas , his thoughts and views on the world,...
Published on May 3 2001 by Christos


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-modern fairytale, May 21 2004
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
The Solitaire Mystery follows a young boy, Hans Thomas, and his father on their way to find their runaway mother. Along the way, they encounter various people, each connected by a strange world long ago, leading ultimately to the unraveling of the mysterious pasts of Hans and his family.
The Solitaire Mystery explores the strange world of coincidences and determinism. It dabbles in the philosophy of consciousness, reminding one of Descartes's elegant statement, "Cogito ergo sum," except declared this time by a pack of living playing cards. While definitely surreal, Gaarder touches questions intrinsic in every culture in the world.
The only problem I had with this book was its story-within-story format. This made it somewhat difficult to follow, as it reached the point when Hans was reading a book about someone telling someone else a story told to him by another person.
However, despite the heady material The Solitaire Mystery utilizes, it still reads as light and whimsical. This is a fairytale a la Alice-in-Wonderland, but at the same time, deep and profound.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book really changed my life., May 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
I actually did not buy this book here at amazon.com , but I checked it out of my library. I was looking for a book randomly, and the fish on the cover caught my eye, so i picked it up, and checked it out. Oh my god. This book has changed my life forever. The book made me think so much about the world around me, and to really question life itself. How ignorant we are to walk around in our little lives, completely ignoring the greatness of everything around us, like how the sky stays up there, and how we stay planted on the ground, and how rain falls. After crying a little, and laughing a little, I finished the book with great satisfaction, and whole new persepective on life. If everyone in the world read this book, the world would be a grander place, in which we don't worry about petty differences, but instead wonder. Five stars, and nothing less.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A quest for undertanding, May 27 2003
By 
Stacey M Jones (Conway, Ark.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
In a story within a story, "The Solitaire Mystery" by Jostein Gaarder follows a sailor who gets shipwrecked on an island and finds another man there, also a cast away, who had been lost there 52 years before. The older man lives on the island with 53 strange little people, who on a certain celebratory day, prepare a sentence for a grand story. No one knows the sentences of the others (they can barely remember their own), and the "court jester" among them arranges them so the story is coherent, representative of the past and present and also so it prophesizes the future.
All this is read by a 12-year-old boy, Hans Thomas, who is traveling from Norway with his father by car to Greece, where Hans Thomas's mother is living. She had left the family eight years before to become a model and neither Hans Thomas nor his father, an arm-chair philosopher, has heard from her since. Hans has a problem with his remaining parent, too. He drinks too much, and gets drunk regularly on the journey south.
But when a funny little man gives Hans Thomas a strange magnifying glass, and a baker in Dorf gives him a correspondingly tiny book baked into a sticky bun, Hans is the connection between the two stories, living out his quest to go get his "Mommy" in Greece, and spending time reading the story of the mysterious island and the strange people who inhabit it. There are obvious connections between Hans Thomas's journey, his problems in life and who he is with the sticky-bun book's plot, which is very complex, with many seemingly disparate aspects and facets.
As the story progresses, the themes of the essence of being, of God's role in the world, destiny and the joy of being alive/the beauty of the world resonate in both stories. Gaarder, a former philosophy teacher in Norway, concentrates on these aspects of philosophy, using both stories to illustrate his themes and intrigue his reader.
While I read that this is a young adult book, I found it quite engaging, particularly once I was able to devote enough time to it at one sitting to be swept up in the plot. For some time it alternates chapters between Hans's journey and the journey in the sticky-bun book, at which point the relationships between them become apparent and compelling. I also read a lot of comparison's to Gaarder's well known novel "Sophie's World," which I've also read. I think the comparison, while natural, isn't necessarily that helpful. "Sophie's World" was translated from the Norwegian into English first, but was written after "Solitaire" and is different; While both deal with philosophical themes and young adults, "Sophie's World" is a kind of brief history of philosophy. "The Solitaire Mystery" concentrates on the above-mentioned themes in a way that is fulfilling to any age of reader; the themes make the philosophical issues a support for a riveting plot.
I recommend this novel. It's fun and fantastic, but leaves you feeling pleasantly full of ideas and reactions, as well as appreciative of the life we get to live.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, Feb. 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
You can't miss this book!
This story is about a boy named Hans Thomas who left with his father to Athens looking for his mother that eight years before had left home trying to find herself. In his way to Greece a midget gave him a magnifying glass and then the baker of a town named Dorf gave him a very tiny book inside a bun. This book has the story of his family curse and make him realized what's his destiny and solve the mystery of why his mother run away to Athens.
With this story the author wants to show the readers how wonderful and amazing life is. Just the fact of being alive is powerful and impressive. The human beings had being able to create an incredible world full of technologies that make life more comfortable and easy, but they haven't being able to realize neither how complex and organized nature and life are, nor the answer for the most basic questions like who are we? Where do we come from? How did we just appear on earth? Is there more live outside this planet?
There are just a few that maybe don't have the answers for these questions, but these questions are in their minds all the time, they are awake, they open their eyes and astonished they admire even the most little and insignificant thing. And those few are the jokers of the packs, "the ones who see too much and too deep".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and see where the adventure takes you., Jan. 22 2003
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
The Solitaire Mystery is more than a book. In the words of Mr. Coreander, a character in The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, "There are many doors to Fantastica, my boy. There are other such magic books. A lot of people read them without noticing. It all depends who gets his hands on such books."
I believe that Gaarder truly gives readers a new doorway into 'Fantastica', by analogy. He demonstrates how literature can be an art only the imagination can truly understand. After the first time I read this book I had become so immersed into the story, I picked it up again and began reading it again. This is definitely a book to get your hands on. If you desire to read a book that shows the wonders of life, the mystery of adventures, a window into your innermost being, this is the book. I have read Gaarder's Sophie's World and loved it as well. These two books are significantly different and both contain a genuine 'must read' story. Gaarder's style of writing is not confusing or hard to follow. But the nature of the story is one that makes the reader think, look inside themselves for understanding, and encourages them to re-evaluate how they see life and all its wonders.
The imagination, spirit, soul, and what can be called the 'innermost being' takes on many forms, and they all gather strength to take flight from different books in a variety of ways. Read The Solitaire Mystery and see where it takes you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will tke your imagination for a journey, Jan. 21 2003
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
The Solitaire Mystery is more than a book. In the words of Mr. Coreander, a character in The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, "There are many doors to Fantastica, my boy. There are other such magic books. A lot of people read them without noticing. It all depends who gets his hands on such books."
I believe that Gaarder truly gives readers a new doorway into 'Fantastica', by analogy. He demonstrates how literature can be an art only the imagination can truly understand. After the first time I read this book I was became so immersed into the story, I picked it up again and began reading it again. This is definitely a book to get your hands on. If you desire to read a book that shows the wonders of life, the mystery of adventures, a window into your innermost being, this is the book. I have read Gaarder's Sophie's World and loved it as well. These two books are significantly different and both contain a genuine 'must read' story.
The imagination, spirit, soul, and what can be called the 'innermost being' takes on many forms, and they all gathers strength to take flight from different books in a variety of ways. Read and find out what will happen to you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars In need of a philosophical pick-me-up?, May 29 2002
By 
"ajlingo" (Minneapolis MN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
Gaarder's _The Solitaire Mystery_ came to me by accident--I was perusing the bookstore and the green spine of the book caught my eye. I didn't know anything else about it, except for the fact that it was by the same author as _Sophie's World_.
Four years later, I recently had to purchase a second copy because my first is so worn out. I am a substitute teacher, and use it to read aloud to my elementary classrooms. Not only are the kids entranced, I find something new each time I read it. Gaarder has a way of wording very difficult philosophical concepts (in this book, specifically predetermination/destiny and coincidence) and making them into an "Alice in Wonderland" like story to reach even the youngest kids, but thought provoking enough to keep adult readers thinking for a very long time.
Each chapter is identified not only by a playing card (I will not talk about that--it is up to the reader to find out the secret of the cards) but also a "tagline", which operates not unlike a textbook summarization of the concept Gaarder wants us to take away. Two examples are "we are but tiny dolls bursting with life" and "life is a lottery in which only the winning tickets are showing". If those words intrigue you, and you want the chance to read 51 more of those lines, read this book. It may change your perspective on things.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A comparison of life & a deck of cards., Nov. 25 2001
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
Not till I read this book, a deck of cards to me was simply a deck of cards --- something to play with either alone or with friends. After having read this book, I now hold a very much different opinion.
The world, & life in general, are like the entire deck of cards. It is full of different people, belonging in different families. Year in & year out, these people dwell with their own lives. Nothing concerns them more than their immediate environment. Like the dwarves in the magical island, we tend to run from the truth. Yes, we search...but if we feel we will not like the truth we are unearthing, then we avoid finding it out entirely. Like these suits, we humans, are oblivious & indifferent to the wonders that surround us. Like the Ace of Hearts, we are in constant search of something that we do not know of, & more often than not, we tend to lose ourselves. Like the Kings, we judge the Joker negatively, not only for how he looks, but for what he sees & says are very much different from our own views. Needless to say, it is this odd man who is the wisest of us all. He, being an outsider, gets to observe properly & sees the mire we are all in.
In general, this book is a very interesting & unique piece. It is a far cry from the usual commercial books we often see around. I highly recommend this book to every avid reader, despite the main character (Hans) being a child. The topics being discussed through the pages are interesting to note & very much worthy of our thoughts. It is something to read & ponder on.
& oh yes, before I forget...nothing is permanent in this world. Only change & time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story, July 7 2001
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
After reading Sophie's World, I couldn't help but getting a second (and then a third...) book of Jostein Gaarder. He just writes in such an enchanting and skillful way, that he totally takes you inside his every novel, and you never want to come out again.
So happens with The Solitaire Mystery. It's got all of the characteristics that made Sophie's World a masterpiece: it starts out as a fairly simple story, then it tangles on another one or two intertwining stories, that evolve (as we go through them) parallel to the major story. It's got great (but controlled) imagination, and creates a beautiful atmosphere in the reader's mind, through the most successful description of places and events. Of course, all the stories come to become one at the end, and it ends almost as simply and nicely as it begun.
Overall, The Solitaire Mystery is a truly beautiful story. It's written in a simple but skilled manner, thus allowing it to be read any time of the day - it's a fast read too, since it manages to capture me and not let me go, something that very few books can do (to me!). So, here's another Gaarder classic!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars It's readable but..., May 3 2001
By 
Christos (Athens, Greece) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Solitaire Mystery (Paperback)
The Solitaire Mystery is a good book to read with a dark side to it and little to none philosophy in it. It tells two stories one of a Norwegian boy goin on a trip with his father to find his mother who left them and went to Greece and another story which the little boy reads from a tiny book. The heart of the story is Hans Thomas , his thoughts and views on the world, his missing his mother. The story with in the story was another story! It was boring to read though the writer made honest attempts to tranfer you in another magical world ,if the Magical Mystery Tour didn't take you away then you'll survive this too!!! Also the book I bought claims that a third story is told as well,that of a conceivable trip to the world of philosophy.It is possible that I wasn't paying much attention but most likely I was and I'm disappointed to think that there hasn't been a decent philosopher since those Ancient Greeks. Philosophy is the love for wisdom and with out love there is no wisdom, rather the shadow of it...I'd say read it but beware of Jokers baring gifts!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Solitaire Mystery
Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (Paperback - Nov. 1 1997)
Used & New from: CDN$ 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews