Spanning one hundred and fifty years (from the Pacific in the 18th century to Paris in World War Two), seven lifetimes, and read in two different directions, Landragin’s Crossings is a very clever, genre blend of literary, historical and speculative fiction.
What does “read in two different directions” mean? The reader is given the choice of reading Crossings the conventional way (start at page one and keep going until the end, at page 356) or opt to follow an unusual pathway of starting at page 150 and finishing at page 155, after nineteen different crossings back and forth, for an entirely different interpretation. I did both, starting with the unconventional way first.
The novel, however it is read, follows a number of complicated, interconnected lives across time and place in a bizarre tale of love, adventure and mystery. The story lines, characters and settings are beautifully written.
This ambitious epic is, surprisingly, Landragin’s first novel. Born in France, but raised in Australia, Landragin started his writing career as a travel writer before more recent experimentation with short fiction.
Crossings had me enthralled from the very first sentences of the preface, “I didn’t write this book. I stole it.” It should appeal to lovers of literary fiction, history, romance and the supernatural. I would definitely recommend it for book club discussions, particularly if half the group reads it the conventional way and the other half braves the unconventional approach!