Top positive review
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on May 21, 2004
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.