Wednesday

Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti

It all started with a few dirty looks over a cemetery bench.

Shrimp is a lonely widow who visits her husband’s grave during her lunch break almost every day. She sits there and contemplates what went wrong with her marriage, her husbands unexpected death and where she plans on heading with her life. Benny is a quiet man, he visits his parents’ gravesite - plants trees, works on keeping everything nice and neat, it’s this whole lavish affair that he performs to his great satisfaction... all while wondering over the sad woman he sees sitting on "his" bench. And then one day they look at one another and they smile - and it was like the sun, moon and stars were in those smiles.

Shrimp’s smile persuades Benny to have a somewhat stalker-ish moment and he decides to follow her back to work one day. He cleverly starts a conversation with her and eventually invites her out to lunch. And thus starts their grand love affair. Although Benny and Shrimp are very different people - for one, Benny is a dairy farmer, he works long and hard days, he is alone and in need of a woman (his mother recently passed away and she was the one who took care of all the household work). Shrimp, on the other hand, likes living in the city, she’s educated, works as a librarian and loves her small colorless apartment. Yet, there’s a reason they say "Opposites Attract". But can their love for one another overcome these differences?

Benny & Shrimp was originally published in Swedish and has (luckily for us) been translated. I found it to be such a sweet and unique story about two average people (don’t get thrown off by the description of a middle-aged couple - they are both in their early thirties) who find each other and really don’t know what to do with each other - yet still make a go of it. I had some mixed emotions over the love that they shared - there were times where I literally laughed out loud and then there were times where I was so sad that I had tears in my eyes. I loved how each chapter switches from Benny to Shrimp - so you get both sides of the story. I really enjoyed this because you would see how they both felt over a certain thing (i.e. how excited she was about taking Benny to her favorite opera; how tired he was from working all day and sleeping through the whole thing). Benny & Shrimp were clumsy, honest, funny and just a treat to read about. Ms. Mazetti’s words were translated beautifully - she’s a very simple writer and I found that I really enjoyed her style. This is a bittersweet tale of an unconventional love that you should definitely consider reading.

6 comments:

Juju said...

Wow! Sounds lovely. Sounds like a movie I would choose.

celi.a said...

This sounds great. I'd read it in a heartbeat. Wonderful review!

Veens said...

Well I have read some great reviews about it! thank u!

Beth F said...

I barely skimmed your review because I have it here to read. So glad you liked it, that make me look forward to the book.

Serena said...

Wow, I wonder what was lost in the translation from Swedish. I haven't read this book yet, but sounds like a good one.

Dar said...

Glad you enjoyed this one. I've got it sitting up next in the tbr pile.

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