Crossings
Crossings is an unforgettable and explosive genre-bending debut--a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning a hundred and fifty years and seven lifetimes.On the brink of the Nazi occupation of Paris, a German-Jewish bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript called Crossings. It has three narratives, each as unlikely as the next. And the narratives can be read one of two ways: either straight through or according to an alternate chapter sequence. The first story in Crossings is a never-before-seen ghost story by the poet Charles Baudelaire, penned for an illiterate girl. Next is a noir romance about an exiled man, modeled on Walter Benjamin, whose recurring nightmares are cured when he falls in love with a storyteller who draws him into a dangerous intrigue of rare manuscripts, police corruption, and literary societies. Finally, there are the fantastical memoirs of a woman-turned-monarch whose singular life has spanned seven generations. With each new chapter, the stunning connections between these seemingly disparate people grow clearer and more extraordinary. Crossings is an unforgettable adventure full of love, longing and empathy.

Crossings Details

TitleCrossings
Author
ReleaseJul 28th, 2020
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250259042
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy

Crossings Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    once upon a time, i read Hopscotch, cortazar’s fan-favoritiest novel, and i did it aaaaalllll wrong. i misunderstood the rules and thought i was supposed to read the whole novel like a regular book and then go back and reread it using the page-order laid out in the “Table of Instructions” to “hopscotch” back through the story, and i don’t know what i thought would be revealed by this double-dip method, but it’s what i did and BOY, was i pissed to discover it was meant to be an either/or situatio once upon a time, i read Hopscotch, cortazar’s fan-favoritiest novel, and i did it aaaaalllll wrong. i misunderstood the rules and thought i was supposed to read the whole novel like a regular book and then go back and reread it using the page-order laid out in the “Table of Instructions” to “hopscotch” back through the story, and i don’t know what i thought would be revealed by this double-dip method, but it’s what i did and BOY, was i pissed to discover it was meant to be an either/or situation, not a “read this 600 page book twice, sucka!!”so, if any of YOU are dum dums the way i was am a dum dum, let me clarify that THIS book offers the same reading options: you can either read it from page 1-472 (that’s the ARC page-count—if it’s longer in the finished book, don’t stop at page 472!), OR you can follow the Baroness sequence, which will usher you back and forth through the guts of the book, alternating between the three separate-but-connected storylines which is what i did. i haven’t read it the other way; the conventional way, and that may also be a perfectly satisfying read, but you can read plenty of other books that way, most of them, in fact! very few books can be read as a backy-forthy journey, so when those opportunities arise, i say “take ‘em!” this one reminded me of Cloud Atlas and The Mirror Thief, all of them time-jumping, multiple POV-having, samefolk-appearing fantasy adventures with a little of this and a little of that, genre-wise: romance and mystery and true historical events and personages* wrapped in an intriguing puzzle box guiding the reader through discrete storylines peppered with recurring motifs, but this is the only one of the three that you can read without knowing how many pages you have left before it’s over! it’s like chutes and ladders—the book; sometimes it’ll make you look like the fastest reader ever, sometimes it’ll look like you’ve been reading for hours and are only fifty pages in. it’s exercise and an adventure you can take without leaving your house! this is a wonderful chonk of a book, and even though it is primarily a love story with other stuff stuck to it, and i do not give a fig about love stories, i liked this one. i wanted to write a better review for this book but then the world got terrible and now my brain is bad. read the book and then write a better review than this. * which is true of this one and The Mirror Thief, but maybe not Cloud Atlas? i’m leaning towards “no,” but it’s been a long time since i read it, so no yelling if i am mistaken! come to my blog!
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    "Rare books can bring out the worst in people".The Baroness had an impressive private library of material pertaining to Charles Baudelaire. She asked an acclaimed bookbinder "to bind a looseleaf manuscript-no constraints of time or money-a priceless manuscript...one condition...I was not to read its contents". The Baroness was later found murdered, her eyes gouged out. "Could the murder of the Baroness be connected somehow with the manuscript now lying in my safety deposit box?" I was now free t "Rare books can bring out the worst in people".The Baroness had an impressive private library of material pertaining to Charles Baudelaire. She asked an acclaimed bookbinder "to bind a looseleaf manuscript-no constraints of time or money-a priceless manuscript...one condition...I was not to read its contents". The Baroness was later found murdered, her eyes gouged out. "Could the murder of the Baroness be connected somehow with the manuscript now lying in my safety deposit box?" I was now free to devour the time-worn, rabbit-eared document containing three stories, handwritten in French: "The Education of a Monster", "City of Ghosts", and "Tales of the Albatross". How does one read this document? The manuscript can be read in order, from beginning to end, or, the Baroness Sequence could be followed, zigzagging by way of a jumble of numbers scribbled on the first page. This reader chose the adventurous Baroness sequence! On a Pacific Island in the late 18th Century, the populace obeyed "The Law". It was their prized possession. "The Law's greatest gift was the crossing. To look into the eyes of another, to sense the stirring of one's soul, to be transported into the body of the other and dwell therein until the time came for the return crossing...A crossing is a perilous venture...some crossings fare better than others...The Law says there can be no crossing without a return crossing".A French trading ship, The Solide, visited the island. The Islanders invited the strangers to a feast. "...we drank in their presence, we studied their strangeness". Koahu, a student of the crossing, performed the Islanders Sacred Dance: The Dance of the Albatross. Koahu, brazen and bold, locked eyes with Roblet, the ship's surgeon, a look with such intensity that a crossing took place. A mistake occurred. Koahu, inhabiting Roblet's body returned to the ship.Koahu was Alula's beloved. "...so began the years of searching...my pursuit of you became my regimen, my raison d'etre...I am Alula, and I will never abandon you...Upon crossing into a new body, one takes up the course of a new life,...I never stopped seeking out a way to speak with you". Sacrifices for love, attempts to right a grievous wrong, with unintended consequences, unfold over a period of 150 years."...eyes are the window to the soul...I ask only that you look into my eyes and stay still. Do not look away. Do not speak...I need only look into your eyes for three or four minutes, and then all will be revealed". Travelling through time, the reader will meet Charles Baudelaire, experience the occupation of Paris in 1940, witness the crime of eye gouging, and the disappearance and resurfacing of a precious manuscript. "Crossings" by Alex Landragin is a unique and ambitious foray into speculative fiction. It is a well written, complex literary puzzle, a grand adventure!Thank you St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    I tried as I got myself up to 30% and when you push aside a book ten times in an hour to check your phone, you know that this one is just not for you!
  • Nicki Markus
    January 1, 1970
    Crossings was an inventive and captivating read. In the end I decided to read the work in the back-and-forth approach, and I enjoyed seeing how the stories within the three distinct works intertwined. This is a book that would have taken a lot of planning, and, being a pantster myself, I applaud Landragin for that. The characters and situations are interesting, and I particularly appreciated the way historical personages and events wove through the narrative. In the future I would like to reread Crossings was an inventive and captivating read. In the end I decided to read the work in the back-and-forth approach, and I enjoyed seeing how the stories within the three distinct works intertwined. This is a book that would have taken a lot of planning, and, being a pantster myself, I applaud Landragin for that. The characters and situations are interesting, and I particularly appreciated the way historical personages and events wove through the narrative. In the future I would like to reread this work in the traditional manner, to see how that compares. Overall, though, this is a work of great imagination that always keeps you guessing. I would certainly pick up future books by this author.I received this book as a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Athena (OneReadingNurse)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to St Martin's Press for the early copy! It is the uncorrected manuscript form so if I mention something that doesn't make sense in a later version, this could be why! The first word that comes to my blown mind after finishing this book is "epic". I read it in the Baroness sequence, so it read as a pair of lovers' souls that are body hopping across countries and centuries trying to right the wrong they did by stealing bodies in the first place. The reviews I think will be very Thank you so much to St Martin's Press for the early copy! It is the uncorrected manuscript form so if I mention something that doesn't make sense in a later version, this could be why! The first word that comes to my blown mind after finishing this book is "epic". I read it in the Baroness sequence, so it read as a pair of lovers' souls that are body hopping across countries and centuries trying to right the wrong they did by stealing bodies in the first place. The reviews I think will be very different depending on if the book is read in the published order, as three stories where the final one kind of ties everything together, or as a sweeping epic like I did. In Oaeetee, a Pacific island full of native magic, a crossing is a form of communication where two people can essentially swap souls in order to ascertain each other's motivations and story. One part of The Law that governs this is that once a crossing is made, a return crossing must happen. After a freak accident where one young man, Koahu, is caught mid crossing when his body is injured, his lover Alula completes a full crossing and follows him on to the trader ship. The story starts here, with Alula and Koahu in various bodies across the centuries. Koahu's messed up crossing ensures that he never remembers without writing it down, and even then he is a natural skeptic. Alula remembers and considers herself his guardian. The first two stories are ones told by bodies of Koahu, and the third is Alula and all of her lifetimes There is a third soul that is eventually brought in as the … I don't want to say antagonist, but he kind of becomes Alula's nemesis and the driving point in her story. In either sequence I think the respective endings will blow a reader's mind. I can't imagine the amount of planning it took to write an alternate chapter sequence that actually makes semse. It was hard to follow at first as there were a lot of characters and it wasn't connected at all, but once I learned what was going on and got the hang of Landragin's style, it was sn absolutely incredible journey. From French colonization to literary society conspiracies in Paris and the nazi invasion, this book literally has EVERYTHING in it. Puzzles, murders, multiple love stories, much love for literature, and even Coco Chanel is found in these pages. I personally love anything set in Paris as well and a considerable portion of this book is set there, at least in the second story. Lastly I just want to mention the prologue - the story is framed by the "author" of the manuscript publishing something that came into his possession, aka this book. It is written by the second to last known body of Koahu and tied into the present, so if you re read the prologue after reading the book you start to spot a ton of easter eggs contained in it. I just can't imagine that this is a debut novel, I am going to need to read anything he publishes in the future as well! Other than the unavoidable initial confusion by reading the baroness sequence, I have nothing bad to say about the book. Some parts of Alula's story didn't seem to have a lot to do with the main storyline, like Feuille, although it showed the darker, more depressed side of her personality. I wasn't bored at any point reading it, and had fun ticking off the chapters I had read as it skipped around. I would fully recommend the book to anyone who thinks it sounds up their alley. It will release in July of 2020!
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book, read it in the “choose your adventure mode” and will now read it in the the three different manuscripts,
  • Chrissie
    January 1, 1970
    With a fascinating concept and execution, the structure is either entertainingly crosshatched or straightforward—depending on the method you choose. With all the feel of an adult Choose Your Own Adventure story, without having to actually go through the tedium of choosing. The Baroness Sequence Pagination is one of the two methods of reading through the story, and those sections end with a simple "Go here" link that takes you to the next appropriate section. (I did have some technical difficulti With a fascinating concept and execution, the structure is either entertainingly crosshatched or straightforward—depending on the method you choose. With all the feel of an adult Choose Your Own Adventure story, without having to actually go through the tedium of choosing. The Baroness Sequence Pagination is one of the two methods of reading through the story, and those sections end with a simple "Go here" link that takes you to the next appropriate section. (I did have some technical difficulties with the Kindle linking (and even the naming of the upcoming section) but I methodically broke down both attack strategies by their chapter names and the Kindle locations they span, and came up with what I believe is the correct order from the Baroness's instructions.)Rest assured, I will be rereading this soon with the other method — simply turning the pages in the given order.Regardless, the entire escapade is worth the effort. Following souls through time in an overlapping method that allows each individual story to develop alongside the others, and waiting for the pieces to finally fit together in one larger picture was completely and utterly engrossing. I did not want to put this book down or to end. Landragin has created characters for Crossings that have so much depth; they feel every bit as ancient and well-traveled as they are in their own stories. That includes the real-life characters who make an appearance of sorts in the book: Charles Baudelaire, Jeanne Duval, and Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. Crossings is an appropriate name — calling to mind a journey over the seas, but Landragin uses it as the name of another kind of journey here. Nonetheless, this novel is a veritable basketweave of three narratives. With reading it as the Baroness intended, I believe she's allowed most of the work to be done by the stories themselves. Whereas, it's up to the reader to tie everything in completely when reading it straight through. Either way, both ways, create a supremely masterful novel.With hints of Orlando, a drop of The Song of Hiawatha, and a fragmental resemblance to Cloud Atlas, Crossings stands among some greats — and holds up to the label of genre-bending.I will definitely be purchasing my own physical copy for the reread coming up.I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This affected neither my opinion of the book, nor the content of my review.
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  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a big fan of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton), The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Claire North) and The Starless Sea (Erin Morgenstern). This feels like Australia's answer to those books and I loved it!This book is three novellas that can be taken as completely seperate stories. However there's an alternative way of reading it where you jump from chapter to chapter across the three stories to read one cohesive novel. Don't worry, this is all explained in the prolog I'm a big fan of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton), The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Claire North) and The Starless Sea (Erin Morgenstern). This feels like Australia's answer to those books and I loved it!This book is three novellas that can be taken as completely seperate stories. However there's an alternative way of reading it where you jump from chapter to chapter across the three stories to read one cohesive novel. Don't worry, this is all explained in the prologue and you can choose which way you would prefer to read it. I read it as a one novel (bouncing from chapter to chapter). I can guess what it would be like as three seperate novellas but I didn't read it that way so this review only covers the single novel option.This is a hard one to describe without giving too much away. It's an epic story of three characters across time and continents. It certainly has a paranormal element when read as a novel so you definitely need to be open to the fantastical to embrace that telling, however in a similar way to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle I would argue that the paranormal aspect isn't the central theme of the tale - you could almost just believe that everyone is delusional and still thoroughly enjoy the novel. I love concept fiction like this when it's done delicately and thoroughly the way it is here.I would highly recommend this book.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliantly complex, beautifully written narrative about shifting identities, spanning decades and continents. It was especially interesting in my current state of lockdown in Paris to read about Paris on the eve of occupation. We have been on lockdown for 26 days. Each morning, I run down the middle of Boulevard Hoche en route to the Arc de Triomphe, the end of the 1km I am allowed to travel from my apartment for exercise. At one point in the book, one of the characters remarks on the strange A brilliantly complex, beautifully written narrative about shifting identities, spanning decades and continents. It was especially interesting in my current state of lockdown in Paris to read about Paris on the eve of occupation. We have been on lockdown for 26 days. Each morning, I run down the middle of Boulevard Hoche en route to the Arc de Triomphe, the end of the 1km I am allowed to travel from my apartment for exercise. At one point in the book, one of the characters remarks on the strangeness of running down one of Paris's wide boulevards without cars. The book draws one into the lives of characters who are astonished by their inexplicable connections with others, by the memories that come to them from distant times and places. Reading this book on my tiny Paris balcony above the silent, abandoned streets, I have a sense of crossing into the lives of the Landragin's characters, who wander Paris in a state of altered consciousness that is not so different from my own.
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  • Alleah
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful. Slow. Dull.The concept of this novel is what originally drew me in. The idea of having a book be read two different ways, one of which involves a choose your own adventure type of navigation, was genius. I chose to try out the Baroness sequence (which is explained in the prologue), and after reading such a strong beginning, I was ready to devour the story and give it five stars.Alas, I couldn't even get through the novel in it's entirety.The prose was lovely, but every little thing wa Beautiful. Slow. Dull.The concept of this novel is what originally drew me in. The idea of having a book be read two different ways, one of which involves a choose your own adventure type of navigation, was genius. I chose to try out the Baroness sequence (which is explained in the prologue), and after reading such a strong beginning, I was ready to devour the story and give it five stars.Alas, I couldn't even get through the novel in it's entirety.The prose was lovely, but every little thing was being described. I would zone out in the middle of the page, and have to go back eight paragraphs just to try and remember what was happening. Literary fiction is a genre I enjoy thoroughly, but in this case the beautiful writing was all there was.I tried so incredibly hard to form an attachment to at least one of the story lines--there are three, after all!--but couldn't bring myself to care about a single character or even one of the plots. Characters are what make or break a story for me, and in this case I cared so little about the people in the story that I knew I had to mark this book as a DNF (Did Not Finish).The story could not hold my attention, and the jumping back and forth and back and forth and back again got to be so jarring that I could hardly orient myself at all. I found that the parts I did read were predictable, and there was no thrill, no tension, no stakes. The love story was bland and did not hook me in at all, and I've already forgotten both the characters and their names.If this book was as incredible as that prologue, I would have taken hours off from life to devour it and would have most definitely rated it a full five stars. But, it wasn't like that, and so I stopped reading half way through.Although I myself could not bother to enjoy this, I know that it had mostly to do with the fact that this book was not for me. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I do hope that the targeted audience for this book finds it and loves it, and I wholeheartedly believe that this book deserves so much hype when it gets released. It's a genre bending story, and reads like a classic, so in that sense it is extremely promising.In the end, though, I couldn't force myself into finishing it.Of course, thank you NetGalley for giving me a chance with this novel, and I hope the next person who picks it up falls in love with it.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    This was an ARC provided by Net Galley. I loved this book so much that I have already pre ordered the hardback for when it comes out. It is a new and wonderful take on time travel - kind of... There is a group of people who live on an undiscovered island in Oceania where they are carefully trained in the art of "crossing", an exchange of souls between two people. You are supposed to exchange back, but when these island people are discovered by some French sailors, unfortunate circumstances lead This was an ARC provided by Net Galley. I loved this book so much that I have already pre ordered the hardback for when it comes out. It is a new and wonderful take on time travel - kind of... There is a group of people who live on an undiscovered island in Oceania where they are carefully trained in the art of "crossing", an exchange of souls between two people. You are supposed to exchange back, but when these island people are discovered by some French sailors, unfortunate circumstances lead to a crossing between a young man and a French doctor. His love, a young girl, also crosses with a French sailor to be with her young man. The story follows this pair throughout history as they continue to cross with others and search for their way back home. A real bonus of this book is that it can be read two different ways. One is the traditional...page 1 - End or "The Baroness Method" which skips through the book in a very interesting way. My e book addition did not always track to the next segment correctly - it is an ARC - but I could always figure out where I should be. That is one of the reasons I ordered the hardback because I want to experience this book the other way also.
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  • The Starry Library
    January 1, 1970
    'Crossings' is a layered story about the perilous journey of souls, eyes, book binding, and poetry. It’s an inventive book that can be read two ways. The first way is called ‘The Baroness Sequence’ which beings on page 150 and at the end, prompts you to the next chapter in the book. This way, it can be read as a time travel tale, hopping from different characters and time periods, linked together with details that writes its own over-arching story within the book. The second way to read the book 'Crossings' is a layered story about the perilous journey of souls, eyes, book binding, and poetry. It’s an inventive book that can be read two ways. The first way is called ‘The Baroness Sequence’ which beings on page 150 and at the end, prompts you to the next chapter in the book. This way, it can be read as a time travel tale, hopping from different characters and time periods, linked together with details that writes its own over-arching story within the book. The second way to read the book is consecutively beginning with the first chapter and so on. I absolutely loved having a choice of how to read the book, because it was unique and immersive.I won’t give away the plot, but the story is prefaced with a bookbinder who has been tasked to bind a rare manuscript for a very wealthy client. She is later found dead with her eyes missing and so begins this intricate and sinuous story. The famous adage “the eyes are the windows to the soul” plays a very big role in this book, infusing the story with a romantic and metaphysical narrative arc. It’s supernatural and timeless, global and literary. I adore stories about wanderlust that have a fantastical element which this book so masterfully executed. I couldn’t put it down and perhaps its soul was speaking to my eyes, keeping them glued to its pages and words?
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  • Vonda
    January 1, 1970
    This book is part fiction, part historical fiction, part paranormal, part suspense, all wrapped up together into a masterpiece. There are three separate stories that seem in no way to intertwine and then you get an "oh wow" moment. This has to be one of the most unique books I have ever read. Besides reading the book as 3 separate stories you can start further back in the book and read ever other page and it becomes a single novel. Sheer genius and highly enjoyable.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Y'all this book is pure gold.There are two ways from which you can choose to read it, or go crazy and read it twice, once each way! You can read it is if it were a normal book (which it is, kinda, but also isn't) cover to cover. If you choose this way the book reads as a series of loosely connected short story collections. Or, you can read it the Baroness Sequence Pagination, aka seemingly all over the place; however, this way, it reads as a novel brilliantly weaving together generations of stor Y'all this book is pure gold.There are two ways from which you can choose to read it, or go crazy and read it twice, once each way! You can read it is if it were a normal book (which it is, kinda, but also isn't) cover to cover. If you choose this way the book reads as a series of loosely connected short story collections. Or, you can read it the Baroness Sequence Pagination, aka seemingly all over the place; however, this way, it reads as a novel brilliantly weaving together generations of storylines that cross generations, oceans, genders, languages, and social standings.Although I choose to read Crossings using the Baroness Sequence Pagination, as soon as I got to the end, I wanted to immediately re-read it from cover to cover to see how the experience differed! The intricairies of this storytelling combined with the naunaces of the charecters make for an engaging read from which you will have to drag yourself away from, I was legit tempted to call in sick to work to keep reading Crossings. Excellent read. Crossings should be in everyone's hand at the beach this summer, absolutely brilliant.
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    4.5! Debating whether to give this a five. Brilliant concept, pretty awesome execution. Some formatting issues in the digital format, but I assume those will be fixed by publication date.
  • Marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book to be unusual and captivating. I chose to read this book in the conventional way because I had noticed many of the other readers had read it in the “choose your adventure” mode, and I wanted to see the story from another perspective. I am looking forward to rereading it in the secondary way as it will give the book an even more inventive twist as each story relates to the others from a new perspective. I received this book as an advanced copy from the publishers in exchange for I found this book to be unusual and captivating. I chose to read this book in the conventional way because I had noticed many of the other readers had read it in the “choose your adventure” mode, and I wanted to see the story from another perspective. I am looking forward to rereading it in the secondary way as it will give the book an even more inventive twist as each story relates to the others from a new perspective. I received this book as an advanced copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity.
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  • Kylene
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Crossings. I read the Baroness sequence, and even though I was a little skeptical, I loved jumping around instead of reading straight through. It was refreshingly different, and I'll be thinking about this novel for a long time.
  • maya
    January 1, 1970
    🌼 🌿ARC kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you. 🌿 🌼
  • Gretchen Bernet-Ward
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastical approach to storytelling! Each mystical, mysterious event through the centuries is described in lyrical, romantic, cruel detail as one particular person inhabits another body to survive. Called ‘crossing’ the host person’s experience is well described as they adjust, yet sometimes a crossing is attained without consent. This fascinating, radical concept is written in three parts with strong characters and fabulous settings in Paris and Pacific Islands. It is rather hard to describe A fantastical approach to storytelling! Each mystical, mysterious event through the centuries is described in lyrical, romantic, cruel detail as one particular person inhabits another body to survive. Called ‘crossing’ the host person’s experience is well described as they adjust, yet sometimes a crossing is attained without consent. This fascinating, radical concept is written in three parts with strong characters and fabulous settings in Paris and Pacific Islands. It is rather hard to describe without going right off the deep end, however I will say ‘City of Ghosts’ was my favourite part. I read the e-book and formatting was not perfect, swiping back and forth, so I will be reading the real book for better immersion. I know nothing about the bookbinding author Alex Landragin but if you like different, this alternative view of history is deeply different.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    “The Law’s greatest gift was the crossing. To look into the eyes of another, to sense the stirring of one’s soul, to be transported into the body of the other and dwell therein until the time came for the return crossing--this was the treasure the Law had bestowed upon us.” This novel is three manuscripts -that can be read as three loosely connected pieces or as one single novel.You can look at it as an imagined story, an anonymous work of fiction, an elaborate hoax or joke, a fable but note all “The Law’s greatest gift was the crossing. To look into the eyes of another, to sense the stirring of one’s soul, to be transported into the body of the other and dwell therein until the time came for the return crossing--this was the treasure the Law had bestowed upon us.” This novel is three manuscripts -that can be read as three loosely connected pieces or as one single novel.You can look at it as an imagined story, an anonymous work of fiction, an elaborate hoax or joke, a fable but note all that's needed to prevent a crossing is to look away.Few can ignore its seductive pleasures.However, I will warn those ahead of time the subject matter is difficult and troubling: the purchase of slaves, flagging, Negroes, ragpickers, brutality, women used as trade for ammunition, beatings that lead to paralyzed bodies and loss of eyesight.A crossing of bodies can happen as well as a metempsychosis which is a transformation of souls after death or the crossing since there's no death.The law was irreparably broken.The rejection of foreigners and their ways resulted in the notion of returning to the law with increased devotion. Division amongst them widened after French came to their island.Sickness spread as well as stealing.Hard times led to Hippolyte Balthazar murdered in his very own bed and worse: having his eyes removed.So, remember every crossing is a theft of life and all that goes with it.While this book was good it was hard for me to comprehend some of the enormous undertakings and abuse. It was in many ways difficult to cope with the subject matter and I couldn't get around the concept.I read this normally -chapter to chapter- and didn't skip around as suggested but I don't honestly think that makes a bit of difference as long as you understand and comprehend the material.Thank you to Alex, the pub, Netgalley, and Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Peter Spence
    January 1, 1970
    If the supernatural element can be set aside, this a good, bouncy read touching on the ethics and arrogance of French religious colonialism in the 19th century. It is also a love story about the global search for a lost lover.
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    This is very good. There are many helpful, detailed reviews that will serve readers, so I'll just recommend it for historical fiction fans. Thanks very much for the review copy!!
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Crossings by Alex Landragin is an ingenious piece of art that simply cannot be labeled as just under one genre. This book is part fiction, part historical fiction, part paranormal, part suspense, all wrapped up together into a masterpiece. When the reader begins to read this book they find that they need to decide one of two ways to read through the pages to find out the true plot and ending. It would actually be useful to read it both ways, but it doesn’t matter how one uncovers the plot, it is Crossings by Alex Landragin is an ingenious piece of art that simply cannot be labeled as just under one genre. This book is part fiction, part historical fiction, part paranormal, part suspense, all wrapped up together into a masterpiece. When the reader begins to read this book they find that they need to decide one of two ways to read through the pages to find out the true plot and ending. It would actually be useful to read it both ways, but it doesn’t matter how one uncovers the plot, it is the journey that is delicious. That is not to say that the final product isn’t tasty, it is just that adding all the ingredients together is just as exciting and worthwhile. As the reader continues on, they find how the three stories that at first seem completely different, all interweaving into the finished product.Just pure brilliance. So unique and so unforgettable.5/5 stars!!!!Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄️ ), superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOLI requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.Alex Landragin's Crossings When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄️ ), superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOLI requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.Alex Landragin's Crossings is an unforgettable and explosive genre-bending debut—a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning a hundred and fifty years and seven lifetimes.On the brink of the Nazi occupation of Paris, a German-Jewish bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript called Crossings. It has three narratives, each as unlikely as the next. And the narratives can be read one of two ways: either straight-through or according to an alternate chapter sequence.The first story in Crossings is a never-before-seen ghost story by the poet Charles Baudelaire, penned for an illiterate girl. Next is a noir romance about an exiled man, modelled on Walter Benjamin, whose recurring nightmares are cured when he falls in love with a storyteller who draws him into a dangerous intrigue of rare manuscripts, police corruption, and literary societies. Finally, there are the fantastical memoirs of a woman-turned-monarch whose singular life has spanned seven generations.With each new chapter, the stunning connections between these seemingly disparate people grow clearer and more extraordinary. "Crossing" is an unforgettable adventure full of love, longing and empathy.Okay, I did not "get" this book ... I tried all the suggested reading ideas (it is har to skip back and for on an e-reader at times) but I just got lost and then lost interest. as a librarian, if I do not learn something new or get engaged in the characters I do not finish the book as there are too many good ones out there to read and review.You might like it, I did not ... as always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it a 🗺  to find your way home with.
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  • Audriana
    January 1, 1970
    I truly loved the different characters personalities and was fascinated by how their lives tied into one another! They each had such a uniqueness I could never forget and although I was never quite into books about the past this was such a great read for me! Thank you for this amazing piece of work! I would definitely recommend!!!
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  • Neelam Babul
    January 1, 1970
    Crossings is an inventive and captivating read with three distinct stories intertwined into one great story. It is confusing to keep track of all that is going on in the story but it is worth a read.
  • Malvina
    January 1, 1970
    This is a tricksy book containing three stories, with two ways of reading it. Firstly, you can read it chronologically, turning the pages. Or, you can read it following the 'Baroness' sequence, and you start on page 150 and flip back and forth through the story, a bit like a read-your-own adventure as it points to different chapters next - and thus provides a different interpretation. Either way, it's an astonishing tour de force. The 'crossings' of the title refer to metempsychosis of the livin This is a tricksy book containing three stories, with two ways of reading it. Firstly, you can read it chronologically, turning the pages. Or, you can read it following the 'Baroness' sequence, and you start on page 150 and flip back and forth through the story, a bit like a read-your-own adventure as it points to different chapters next - and thus provides a different interpretation. Either way, it's an astonishing tour de force. The 'crossings' of the title refer to metempsychosis of the living, where you can cross into someone else's body via locking eyes. Also called the transmigration of souls. There are rules, however. There must be a return crossing. When that doesn't happen, things go spectacularly wrong; some secrets are worth killing for. This book was sheer literary fascination. Something unusual and rare to enjoy! Thankyou to Pan Macmillan Australia and Beauty & Lace Bookclub for the review copy.
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  • Fleur Walsh
    January 1, 1970
    I found the book a confusing tale. It does well to depict the long lost search for a lover across seas and countries but the supernatural theme throughout was a bit far fetched for me. I did choose to read the book the unconventional way ( 2 ways to read the book which is listed at start) which I think made it a bit more confusing to follow certain characters.
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  • Kali
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Crossings by Alex Landragin is a love story with three interconnecting narratives. One thread chronicles the last days of French poet Charles Baudelaire as he writes his final novel. Another thread has us following a Jewish German man living in World War II Paris shortly before its occupation by Hitler’s Germany. The third and final thread begins on a small island in the 1770s following lovers Alula and Koahu. I received this book as an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Crossings by Alex Landragin is a love story with three interconnecting narratives. One thread chronicles the last days of French poet Charles Baudelaire as he writes his final novel. Another thread has us following a Jewish German man living in World War II Paris shortly before its occupation by Hitler’s Germany. The third and final thread begins on a small island in the 1770s following lovers Alula and Koahu. How these three threads intertwine is at first a mystery, but as you continue reading, it becomes clear. The part that really grabbed me about this book was that it can be enjoyed two different ways. You can read the novel front to back like you would any other novel. This presents the three story threads separately, meaning you finish one completely, then go on to the next. The second way is the “Baroness Sequence”. This interweaves the three narratives and goes in a roughly round robin style. Baudelaire gets a chapter, Walter Benjamin gets a chapter, and Alula gets a chapter. The Kindle version of the book I was provided had hyperlinks at the end of each chapter that I pressed to bring me to the next part of the sequence. I can’t imagine doing this in hardcover and audio would be next to impossible unless you are willing to stop and start the narration. For my reading, I choose the Baroness Sequence and I am quite happy that I did.With the Baroness sequence, it is much quicker to figure out what is interconnecting the three narratives. If you read the book the conventional way, you might be confused on why we are getting these two threads. The final thread, called “Tales of the Albatross”, cements the characters we are seeing. The emotional beats of the story also change as well. I enjoyed that the book was written in two different ways. I have many friends that don’t enjoy interweaving plot threads and would like to just stay with a character until they are no longer part of the story. It eases the burden of jumping back and forth and remembering where characters were when we last saw them. I personally enjoy interweaving story threads, as long as each thread has a point and carries the theme. And for the most part, Crossings succeeded. That’s not to say that the book didn’t drag in certain places or that the threads were equally interesting. I personally did not enjoy the Baudelaire chapters. I read The Alice Network recently and there is quite a bit of talk on Baudelaire, so much that I have no desire to read or see the name “Baudelaire” ever again. In the Baroness sequence, it didn’t feel like there was any real point for these chapters. I think the Baudelaire’s piece of the overall narrative was sufficiently covered with other story threads, particularly in the third story thread. I also strongly disagreed with having the middle thread be the final chapter of the book. For a book that spent so much time focusing on the love of two characters, spending the last sentence on hate doesn’t make much sense in my mind. Regarding the third story thread, some of these chapters felt overlong. In my Kindle, the third story thread begins at the 45% mark of the novel and continues until the very end. While the third thread is the heart of this book it does make me wonder if there was another way of organizing this thread so that it flowed better. A large part of these chapters was centered around logistics, which is fine, but doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the book. Alula is recounting her story to the reader (or Koahu) from the future, so there is also a tense change as well. She is a much more introspective character then Baudelaire or Walter. It is also held back by the addition of a third character that the reader needs to keep track of. I can’t really say anything else without spoiling ^_^Now let’s talk about what the book does well. From the outset, you understand what moves the characters. Alula has a goal and drives the rest of the narrative. The overall premise of this book has been done before, but was presented in a different way. This book reminds of House of Leaves, but not as intimidating. There isn't another book coming to mind, outside of those chose your own adventure novels, that really played with the story structure. I quite enjoyed it but recognize that it isn't for everyone. The interesting story structure allowed for three narratives to form a cohesive tapestry of events. One of the more enjoyable parts of the book was starting to see how these characters intersect particularly with the earlier book threads. Pieces of information that felt extraneous, like most of the preface, take a whole new meaning as you revisit them. And then the beautiful tragedy that is Alula’s and Koahu’s relationship. Words cannot describe the painfulness of their relationship, made even more painful by the knowledge that they are forever locked in this cycle. This novel, at its very core, is a love story. A love that is so deep and strong that it transcends time and space. While I’m not a big fan of sappy love stories, I really enjoyed this one. It has just enough bitterness to not give me cavity. I will probably reread this book again shortly. This book lends itself to multiple readings, but not because you have to to understand the narrative, but because you want to to see more of the intersections. I can’t remember the last time a book made me want to finish it just to read it again.
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  • Carla
    January 1, 1970
    Originally rated this book 4 stars, from the short story form. Very enjoyable. Since reading it in novel form I upped it to 5 stars. Fantastic! It had reminded me of The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in some ways. However, this dealt more with emotions, more diverse thoughts, mixed with living in different eras, cultures and genders. So unique and thought provoking. I was very lucky to have been able to read the ARC and get a chance to enjoy this thoroughly entertaining story.
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