On the brink of the Nazi occupation of Paris, a German-Jewish bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript called Crossings. It has three narratives, each as unlikely as the next. And the narratives can be read one of two ways: either straight through or according to an alternate chapter sequence.
The first story in Crossings is a never-before-seen ghost story by the poet Charles Baudelaire, penned for an illiterate girl. Next is a noir romance about an exiled man, modeled on Walter Benjamin, whose recurring nightmares are cured when he falls in love with a storyteller who draws him into a dangerous intrigue of rare manuscripts, police corruption, and literary societies. Finally, there are the fantastical memoirs of a woman-turned-monarch whose singular life has spanned seven generations.
With each new chapter, the stunning connections between these seemingly disparate people grow clearer and more extraordinary. Crossings is an unforgettable adventure full of love, longing and empathy.
"A high-concept speculative adventure novel executed with intelligence and grace . . . an invigorating puzzle of a book that reads like a complete, intricate work of genre-defying fiction."—Vulture
"An exquisite novel. My initial melancholy rage at not having written it myself swiftly transformed into blissful gratitude that it exists at all, and that I am lucky enough to read it. Sure to be one of the biggest literary events of the year."—Sam J. Miller, Nebula Award Winning author of Blackfish City
"This delightful puzzle box of a novel is full of clever structural tricks that echo works by Nabokov and Cortazar, but Crossings goes beyond postmodern gamesmanship and finds real heart and soul in its compelling characters and old-fashioned
storytelling ethos."—Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
"Crossings is at once a romance, a puzzle box, and a supernatural mystery that spans not only the globe but also the centuries. Landragin has crafted a richly imaginative novel sure to appeal to fans of Cloud Atlas and Possession."—Tom Sweterlitsch, award-winning author of The Gone World
“Crossings is playful, obsessive, romantic, intelligent, and wholly absorbing, with fascinations enough for a whole shelf of novels. I followed its alternate sequence rather than its conventional one, and reading it I had the unusual—for me maybe even unprecedented—sense, no matter where I was in the page count, that I was always occupying its exact center. Like its characters, I was never sure how close I was to the beginning of the story, how close to the end, which gave it an aura of inexhaustibility. It's a book that feels not endless but endlessly replenishable."—Kevin Brockmeier, The New York Times bestselling author
“Alex Landragin works a vast magician’s kit of erudite invention and heart in this enchanting debut. Crossings is a novel to savor and re-read."—Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
"Romance, mystery, history, and magical invention dance across centuries in an impressive debut novel. Landragin layers historical fiction, metafiction, mystery, fantasy, myth, and romance in a way that might remind readers of such books as Cloud Atlas, Life After Life, The Time Traveler’s Wife—or even Dan Brown’s conspiracy-based adventures, albeit with more elegant prose Landragin carries off the whole handsomely written enterprise with panache.This novel intrigues and delights with an assured orchestration of historical research and imaginative flights."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This novel is outstanding for its sheer inventiveness. The alternative ordering of chapters creates a tension that heightens the awareness of the interlocking aspects of time and space, while deft writing seduces the reader in a complex tale of pursuit, denial, and retribution moving from past to future. Highly recommended."—Library Journal (starred review)
"A sparkling debut. Landragin’s seductive literary romp shines as a celebration of the act of storytelling."—Publishers Weekly
Reviews from Goodreads
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