Mr. Saitos Rejsebiograf

Mr. Saitos Rejsebiograf Mr Saito's Traveling Cinema

An infant is left in a shoebox on the doorstep of Buenos Aires’ Magdalene Monastery and is given the name Fabiola by the nuns. Early in life the rebellious Fabiola develops a propensity for finding the perfect pair of shoes for any given individual. Besides becoming the unlikely top seller of Buenos Aires’ most famous and affluent shoe store, she also – to the nuns’ dismay – becomes a teenage mother to the headstrong girl Lita.

Revolutionary times eventually force the mother and daughter-duo to flee Argentina with their sight set on Europe, but circumstances have them instead end up on a tiny, windswept island in North Foundland. Here Fabiola reluctantly takes up work selling unglamorous wellies and clogs in the island’s general store as they move into the sailor’s home of Bethlehem. Bethlehem, the beating heart of the island, houses a bountiful of eccentric and endearing characters; among them the hosts’ deaf daughter Oona McGregor that becomes Lita’s best friend. As Lita tries to navigate her way in the world it becomes the annual visits by Mr Saito’s traveling cinema – bringing moving pictures from around the world to the isolated isle – that will entirely change the trajectory of her destiny.

Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema is an irresistible odyssey about heart rhythms, fisher boys with amber eyes and finding family in unexpected places. About runaway tango shoes, life’s outtakes and love in all its forms.

Reviews

  • “Following her success with When Life Gives You Hippos, Annette Bjergfeldt has us impressed with her second novel that invites its readers along for another spectacular world tour. /…/ Annette Bjergfeldt made her debut with When Life Gives You Hippos in 2020 and rarely has a Danish novelist made such a compelling entrance on the literary scene. It can’t have been an easy task to follow up the adventurous debut with a second novel – but with Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema Bjergfeldt fortunately succeeds in creating just as colorful a universe and an equally enjoyable gallery of characters as in her debut. /…/ As a cinephile I can’t but rejoice in Bjergfeldt’s enchanting descriptions of the early moviemaking magic. /…/ It’s a classic coming-of-age take, yet there is nothing classic about Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema. (…) The novel is painted in broad strokes and yet Bjergfeldt always have an eye for the small details – the beauty of the moment, as Lita and Oona calls it, as they head out on their own odyssey with Mr Saito’s traveling cinema. Bjergfeldt is adept at sketching out the character portrayals with precision and lingual abundance. (…) But she is also skilled at portraying all of life’s emotions – from the greatest happiness to Lita’s most profound heartbreak. /…/ Annette Bjergfeldt cannot possibly have experienced all that the novel’s protagonists go through, but her portrayals comes across as real, lived lives and as reader you’re immersed in it from first word to last wave splash.”

    ★★★★★

    Politiken, Denmark

  • “An utterly extraordinary, accomplished and moving love story. /…/ A riveting tale about puffins, wellies, tango shoes and quirky characters. I LOVED this novel.”

    Litfix, Denmark

  • “The language is something extraordinary in this novel. It’s bold and rugged, like the surf sweeping against Puffin island, but also musical and challenging like a tango. The metaphors are glorious, the novel is filled with puffins, unrests in the deckhouse, amber in eyes and shoes that in many ways tells something about their owner. It’s a novel with a great love for the outsiders, the misfits, the impossible people that find it hard to make it in the world. They are all given a place in Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema.”

    Nordjyske, Denmark

  • “It’s rare that I feel like throwing all stars and hearts at a book, because there’s always something that could be done better or differently. But I am utterly unreserved about Annette Bjergfeldt’s new novel, Mr. Saito’s Traveling Cinema. It deserves all the praise it can get. /…/ This story is delightfully rich in imagery, wondrous and beautifully human. /…/ I’m a good crier, am easily moved and I’m not the least bit ashamed when my eyes pour over. But all in moderation. That doesn’t apply here however, I’ve never sobbed as much to a book as I have to this one! Quietly, beautifully and softly. (…) [Annette Bjergfeldt] achieves to move me and to have me immersed in Lita’s vast and profound emotions; the longing for love, the break ups, loss and the dreams of getting away. /…/ Sometimes you read a book that you’d rather have never end, Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema is just that kind of book.”

    POV International, Denmark

  • “If you’re only to read one book, [make it this one]. An utterly magical story that will engulf you completely. Here is a scent of John Irving and a flavour of Isabel Allende, as there is simply no way to predict what will happen as you turn the page, and puffins, northern lights, tattoos, raging preachers, tango music, film strips and the sounds of beating hearts all come pouring out. /…/ Annette Bjergfeldt writes with a fantastic ardour and a linguistic joy, that goes straight to the heart. Ahh, how once rejoices in getting to follow Lita’s life on the tiny island with the extraordinary lives.”

    ★★★★★★

    Magasinet Liv, Denmark

  • “The linguistic wit and the quirky characters are both wild and brilliant in Annette Bjergfeldt’s imaginative love story. /…/ The novel is structured as ‘A love story in seven waves’ and one notes from the very first wave on (…) that this is a funny, imaginative tale made to laugh at and with. /…/ Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema portrays in a wild and imaginative way a girl’s transition from adolescence to adulthood. (…) It made me laugh out loud on several occasions.”

    Litteratursiden, Denmark

  • “When [Annette Bjergfeldt] writes, she does so with a South American, Isabel Allende-resonance. (…) She balances on the embankment between realism and the magical and the kneads her novels with profound emotions.”

    Avisen Danmark, Denmark

  • “A real charmer of a novel! With Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema Annette Bjergfeldt has written a narrative, that goes straight to the heart of those who love adventure and passion. Every single line of the 444 pages is a linguistic firework in all of the rainbow’s colours – along with a couple more that you have yet to experience. Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema is a good vying candidate for the best Danish publication of the year. Annette Bjergfeldt is exceptionally talented and writes with both head and heart, wit and bite and a mood that’s more effectively contagious than happy pills.”

    ★★★★★

    Bogrummet, Denmark

  • “Annette Bjergfeldt is a talented storyteller and her imaginative and adventurous book is written with heart and a heavy dose of witty humour in a blend of magic and realism, sorrow and love. It’s not a classic feel-good novel, but in spite of some harsh fates, it’s filled with humour and stories that brings out the smile. The gallery of characters and the atmosphere brings the thought to John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire.”

    Danish Library Report, Denmark

  • “Rarely have I been as entertained as when reading Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema – a spirited and absolutely wonderful story! /…/ The book is imaginative, alluring, magical and adventurous (…) it’s the way  that the story is told in that creates the sparks and fireworks. The tales literary leap out of every page and shimmers delightfully towards its readers. /…/ A stunning novel, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on – a giant vitamin pill that leaves the blood running faster and the readers smiling.”

    ★★★★★

    Bogrummet, Denmark

  • “Let me tell you, this novel drew me in like the moon pulls at the tides. /…/ This novel sings blissfully, the sounds bubbling out of the letters like love that’s boiling and hearts that are melting. /…/ Hide your happy pills, forget about the hissing everyday and savour this literary power demonstration. /…/ There are few people out there that make me rejoice, laugh and cry and there are few books, that accomplish those very things, so thank you to Bjergfeldt and Mr Saito for making my heart wag its tail and my lips smile.”

    
                

    Avisen 2770, Denmark

  • “The Argentinean girl Lita and her tango-dancing mother brings us from Buenos Aires to a North American island in a whirlwind of imaginative tales and an adventurous language. The story is filled with quirky characters, not the least Lita’s imaginary revolutionary friend, Egg, and it is the love for the unique local community that binds it all together. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire journey.”

    Ugeavisen, Denmark

  • “A magical and scintillating novel filled with an array of charming characters.”

    Mit Østerbro, Denmark

  • John Irving, Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez have gotten themselves a Danish little sister. It’s Annette Bjergfeldt that with her novels takes on the baton from some of the world’s most imaginative authors. I much enjoyed her debut (…) but her new novel Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema gave me pure reader’s delight. /…/ Annette Bjergfeldt’s writing style is exuberant, scintillating and serenades your mind. The contrast between Lita’s mother, the Argentine sensual, and the wooden shoe-loving Canadian fishermen is terrifically portrayed. Vividly colourful houses dipped in ship’s paint, a rocky harbour filled with sea boathouses, fish guts, overalls and seagull shit are all detailed in a way that triggers all your senses and I tango-danced my way through all the book’s pages. Lita’s journey into adult life is not without challenges. The novel is not simply a colourful adventure, but also revolves around seeking affirmation from your mother and about missing a father. About being an odd bird, but staying true to yourself. This story is recommended for everyone, in need of some warmth in the winter darkness.”

    Bog & Idé, Denmark

  • “Marvelous! What else can one say about Annette Bjergfeldt’s new book Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema. It is marvelous. There’s of course plenty more to be said about it, but what a tremendous joy it has been to dive into this book about the girl Lita that grows up with her beautiful, but rebellious mother Fabiola. /…/ The coming-of-age tale of Lita is simply so beautiful. In love and grief we become utterly immersed in this place with a beating heart for friendship, infatuation and that particular realization that occurs in the borderland between childhood and adulthood. The novel is written is such a stunning, sensual and present way that once you approach the final pages, you find yourself reading slower and slower to squeeze out the last drop of wonderful atmosphere.”

    Bogblogger.dk, Denmark

  • “Annette Bjergfeldt writes with exuberant energy and ingenuity about the characters and eccentrics that [protagonists] Lita and Fabiola are surrounded by. (…) A stunning portrayal of the victims claimed by the ocean and the return of Oona’s hearing stand out as brilliant highlights in the novels. /…/ The magic arises, when the light falls on a person, says [cinema-keeper] Mr Saito, and the magical light does indeed fall on him, the girls – and the book itself.”

    ★★★★★

    Ritzau Fokus, Denmark

  • “Our vote for the best Danish novel of the year. /…/ The novel is picturesquely portrayed, so vividly that I’m speechless at the fact that Upper Puffin Island does not exist in real life. /…/ It’s not an understatement to say that I loved Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema. I loved it, as it’s astoundingly well-written. I loved it, as in its world every aspect of life truly matters. Most of all, I loved it, as it made me feel seen and heard. /…/ Mr Saito’s Traveling Cinema receives 6 out of 6 stars. It’s exceptional, eminently well-written and draws us into worlds that the privileged few are granted access to. I look forward to immersing myself in the world of Upper Puffin Island yet again, and even more so to read more books by Annette Bjergfeldt.”

    ★★★★★★

    Vores Bogreol, Denmark

  • Annette Bjergfeldt’s second novel invites its readers along for yet another breathtaking world tour, now in the company of Lita, who was conceived in an intimate tango and then grows up among puffins, apparitions, lethal ocean conditions and the traveling cinema of the aforementioned title on the isolated Upper Puffin Island. A fantastic, fateful tale about adventure and love in unexpected places, told in a fabulous language that will infuse the dark winter days with light and colours.”

    Politiken [Best Book of the Year-feature], Denmark

Author
Photo: Leif Ascanius Sol Annette Bjergfeldt
Published
2023
Genre
  • Literary
Pages
442
Reading material

Danish edition

English translation

Rights sold

Bulgaria, Colibri

Croatia, Hena com

Czech Republic, Host

Denmark, Modtryk

Estonia, Rahva Raamat

Finland, Into Kustannus

Russia, Inspiria

Serbia, Laguna

Slovakia, Premedia

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