BOOK CLUB: Crossings

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Author: Alex Landragin
ISBN: 978176055725-6
RRP: $32.99
Publication Date: 28 May 2019
Publisher: Picador Australia
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Crossings is a book with an intensely intriguing premise that seems to be quite tricky to categorise. The reviews I have seen have been positive and all seemed to categorise it a little differently.


This is an ambitious debut that is destined for repeat readings as people try reading it different ways. Brilliant story telling tool, intriguing premise and one that I look forward to finding the time for. I am excited to read what our members thought.

Synopsis from the Publisher’s website:

I didn’t write this book. I stole it…

A Parisian bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript containing three stories, each as unlikely as the other.

The first, ‘The Education of a Monster’, is a letter penned by the poet Charles Baudelaire to an illiterate girl. The second, ‘City of Ghosts’, is a noir romance set in Paris in 1940 as the Germans are invading. The third, ‘Tales of the Albatross’, is the strangest of the three: the autobiography of a deathless enchantress. Together, they tell the tale of two lost souls peregrinating through time.

An unforgettable tour de force, Crossings is a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning a hundred and fifty years and seven lifetimes.

Crossings is published by Picador Australia and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Picador Australia 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Crossings so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Crossings

  1. 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.

  2. Crossing is a book containing three stories in one book.
    l enjoy the secrets that are worth killing for not in real life of course.
    A good read on the serious side of life.

  3. I enjoyed the mysterious and other-worldliness nature of this creative novel and found it a delight to read. From the start, the author pulled me in and I chose the Baroness reading sequence and I loved this ‘choose-your-adventure’ style, flipping back and forth between the chapters. I’m keen to reread this book in the conventional way to compare.

    Thank you to Pan MacMillan and Beauty and Lace for providing a copy for review.

  4. Wow, what a clever story we have here.

    The story begins around a manuscript which has three stories inside that is delivered to a book binder. From here it is as if you have been given the book to read in the way you choose.

    Choice One is from cover to cover in the order the manuscripts are written. The first of them ‘The Education of a Monster’ is a letter penned by the poet Charles Baudelaire to an illiterate girl. The second ‘City of Ghosts’ is a noir romance set in Paris in 1940 as the Germans are invading. The third ‘Tale of Albatross ‘ the autobiography of a deathless enchantress.

    Choice Two is reading the book by following the Baroness Sequence. By following the Baroness Sequence you begin on a certain page and follow the numbers at the end of each section which indicate which page to go to next.
    More of this is explained in the Preface and in Note to the Reader.

    The choice is yours.

    I chose the Baroness Sequence and followed along the numbers journey. What a journey.
    As you travel your way through the story you are taken to many different places and different time lines all while connecting each little piece together. Each step brings a little bit more knowledge and explanation as to the whole book.

    This is a hard story to describe without giving too much away.
    It’s a story of three characters across different timelines and continents. The story is written is old story telling style with some historical figures to keep it all seeming like a real manuscript.

    This book kept me up nights trying to get to work it out and get to the end. At first I was a little confused as to who/what was happening but then it all clicked in and bits I’d read that I couldn’t quite ‘get’ fell into place. When I got to that place then I just wanted to know more.

    This is a historical novel with a bit of mystical fantasy thrown in.
    It’s a one of a kind story that I’m going to read the other way next just to see the difference in the two ways and whether one or the other is the better read.

    Thank you so very much to Michelle and Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia for gifting me this book to read.

  5. What a unique read. The writing is delightful and the journey through the three stories mysterious. I read the book in the ‘choose your own adventure’ style and in between other books so did feel that I lost momentum and would recommend that this is probably a book that needs to be read in minimal sittings to fully comprehend the stories. I did think that the writing was really beautiful however and enjoyed the historical fiction aspect so will go back and read the book again in chronological order- and will just not look deeply into anyone’s eyes for quite a while.

  6. As others have said, this book can be read in two ways. I chose the Baroness Sequence as it seems like most others have as well. There is a bit of jumping around but the core characters are there as the “crossings” happen. I found this really fascinating and have been wondering while reading the book what would be happening if I had read it the traditional way – cover to cover.

    I was really excited to receive this book after reading a review of it in The Saturday Paper.

  7. Crossings was a fascinating and unique read and I loved that you could choose your own adventure in how the story unfolds – whether reading in the conventional way or the Baroness sequence jumping from different points within the novel. I don’t want to give too much away as I want readers to experience the mystery, whimsy and delight for themselves. The writing is beautiful and I enjoyed the historical references and definitely worth a re-read to compare the reading methods and the resulting story. I chose to first read in the Baroness sequence and definitely found it best to get some solid reading done in minimal sittings.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan MacMillan Australia for providing a copy for review.

  8. Crossings is a unique book – from the start the reader can choose how to read the book as 3 short stories or as one story. I chose to read as a story as I am not a huge fan of short stories. At time, I regretted my choice as it was sometimes a bit difficult to follow the stories and the different timelines and characters however it was cleverly done. It is quite unlike any book I have read before and I really enjoyed the challenge and how the stories linked together.

    It is hard to summarise without giving away some of the mysteries. It is a very unusual story with the historical background and the crossings legend. Beautiful work.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan MacMillan Australia for providing a copy for review.

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