The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern brings out the world of Marbles & Marble collectors in an intriguing way. We all have played marbles as kids. They are just small glass spheres that we used to hit and with some rules thrown in here and there, they became our tools for many games. It is after reading this book that I thought of them as more than just marbles. I now remember they all had a unique pattern to them, but as kids, we never thought of them – they were either mistakes or just a way to identify them. I know as players our aim was to win as many marbles from opponents as possible. But I never thought of collecting them or never knew of anyone after school who ever collected marbles.
This book brings alive the world of marble players. There is actually a world championship for marbles. In my wildest dreams, I could not have thought of this game being played professionally. So, reading this book was a great learning and discovery both rolled into one. Not just the games, it introduces you to the types of marbles based on their colors, glass quality, and many other parameters. The author even walks you through the technique with which they are handcrafted.
Author Cecelia Ahern’s storytelling technique is brilliant. She slowly unwraps the story with two protagonists and you take a few chapters to connect the two. Then one character recalls his past life. While the other discovers the same life through a series of clues and some amount of emotional drama follows. The story gets more and more gripping as it progresses. It is a story of the relationship of a man with his passion. His inseparable identity with his brother and his living a few parallel lives. The story may not have come across as gripping but for the storytelling where the author comes across as a master of her craft.
As a split narrative, it is one day in the life of a character while it is a whole lifetime in the life of other. And the author has so well brought them together going back and forth in time that you enjoy it. There are surprises, twists and turns in every chapter. There are no loose ends whatsoever. The story is like a flower that slowly opens up in front of you petal by petal.
The characters are so well etched that you feel you know. You can see the extended family with its intermingled relationships. You start connecting with the characters. And inadvertently take sides as the story moves. You feel sorry for the daughter who has to deal with so much in a day, you feel angry with the father and then you feel sorry for him too. Like fairy tales, it ends with everyone being happy, everyone finding themselves and everyone re-discovering their relationships. Language is simple and takes you along in a flow. In the portions that describe the marble games, you would definitely see your own childhood even if you have never played with the marbles.
Read The Marble Collector book.