By Alex Landragin
** Publication Date 28 July 2020 **
What a unique concept and story. Crossings deals with a rare manuscript, supposedly written, in his own hand, by Charles Baudelaire. Tragedy follows anyone who has had hands on the manuscript. One of the wild concepts of this tale, is the fact that it can be read in two different formats. From the first to the last page, or as I read it, jumping around in an alternate manner. Of course, if you read it one way, you might be tempted (as I am) to read it the other way as well. Apparently it will be an entirely different story.
The reading while jumping around can be challenging, as you have to keep the threads of many years and multiple characters from unraveling in your brain. Reading from beginning to end, though, felt more difficult, as the story reads more slowly, in my opinion, that way.
There are famous characters in this novel, and well-known themes. Coco Chanel makes an appearance as the head of The Baudelaire Society, as well as Baudelaire’s real life muse, Jeanne Duval. The story visits the deep south with a French artist and the invasion of Paris during World War II.
It is a fascinating read, thoughtful and beautifully written.