Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This modern-day Lord of the Flies is a haunting existential novel, both award-winning and and provocative. Now in paperback as part of the Atheneum Collection!
“From the moment you are born, you start to die.”
“The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. You’ll live to be a maximum of one hundred. Life isn’t worth the bother!”
So says Pierre Anthon when he decides there is no meaning to life, leaves his seventh-grade classroom, climbs a plum tree, and stays there. His friends and classmates cannot get him to come down, not even by pelting him with rocks. So to prove to him that there is a meaning to life, they set out to give up things of importance, challenging one another to make increasingly serious sacrifices. The pile is started with a lifetime’s collection of Dungeons & Dragons books, a fishing rod, a pair of green sandals, a pet hamster—but then, as each demand becomes more extreme, events take a morbid twist. And what if, after all these sacrifices, the pile is still not meaningful enough to bring Pierre Anthon down?
didn’t even have the comfort of being able to see each other. I tried to concentrate on studying the church. The stone walls were rough and white, there were carvings in the light-colored timber doors, and way up high were stained-glass windows, which at this time of night simply appeared dark. I started counting again. One, two, three … An odd, hollow sound came from the grave behind me every time one of the spades struck the earth. A thud, and then a whishing sound as the soil slid from the
us that nothing mattered. We had just started seventh grade, and we were all so modern and so well-versed in life and being in the world that we knew that everything was more about how it appeared than how it was. The most important thing, in any circumstance, was to amount to something that really looked like it was something. And though that something as yet seemed rather vague and unclear to us, it certainly had nothing to do with sitting in a plum tree, pitching plums into the street. If
Pierre Anthon thought he could make us think any different, he had another thing coming. “He’s bound to climb down when winter comes and there are no more plums,” said Pretty Rosa. It didn’t help. For one thing, the sun was still blazing away in the sky, and winter looked like it was a long way off. For another, there was no reason to believe that Pierre Anthon couldn’t stay in his plum tree winter or not, even if there were no plums. All he had to do was dress warmly. “You’re going to have
a number of its hymns, but nevertheless ran with no other defects from page 27 to page 389. Ursula-Marie delivered a pink ivory comb missing two teeth, and Jon-Johan chipped in with a Beatles tape that had lost all sound, but that he had never had the heart to throw out. Others went from house to house asking if they could have anything that meant something. One or two doors were slammed in our faces, but we were also given the most wondrous things. The old folks were the best. They gave us
in Denmark and the Royal House and was forbidden to ever play with Hussain. The Dannebrog, our proud flag, had descended from the skies in twelve-hundred-and-something, Frederik maintained, in order that the Danish king could prevail over the enemy in Latvia. What the Danish king was doing in Latvia, Frederik was unable to enlighten us with, nor would it have helped him any had he known. We definitely couldn’t have cared less about kings or Latvia as we hooted, “Dannebrog, Dannebrog. Frederik,