Fredrik Backman’s novel, “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” is a wonderful book filled with fantasy, a treasure hunt, grief and sadness, about an almost-eight-year-old, Elsa, and her complicated granny. The story consists of an apartment building of broken people all connected through granny and the ways she tried to “save” them throughout her life, and then her apologies to them in her death. The notes of apologies are distributed by Elsa, who goes around getting to know her neighbors in a new way that she never had known them before.
Backman masterfully weaves the life stories of those neighbors as vignettes showing how each life is intertwined together and with Elsa’s granny. The stories are both heart-breaking and redemptive. It is like a modern fairy tale of good versus evil, heroism, and magic. The twists and turns in the stories that all come together leave the reader perplexed and amazed.
Backman’s understanding of human nature as seen through the eyes of the precocious young Elsa is an amazing story to unpack.