Excerpt from Nothing by Janne Teller, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Nothing

by Janne Teller

Nothing
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2010, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2012, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Cindy Anderson

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Pierre Anthon lived with his father and the rest of the commune in an old farmhouse at Tæringvej number 25. Pierre Anthon’s father and the commune were all hippies who were still stuck in ’68. That was what our parents said, and even though we didn’t really know what it meant, we said it too. In the front yard by the street there was a plum tree. It was a tall tree, old and crooked, leaning out over the hedge to tempt us with its dusty red Victoria plums, which none of us could reach. Other years we’d jump to get at the plums. We stopped doing that. Pierre Anthon left school to sit in the plum tree and pelt us with unripe plums. Some of them hit home. Not because Pierre Anthon was aiming at us, because that wasn’t worth it, he proclaimed. It was just chance that made it so.

He yelled at us too.

“It’s all a waste of time,” he yelled one day. “Everything begins only to end. The moment you were born you began to die. That’s how it is with everything.”

“The Earth is four billion, six hundred million years old, and you’re going to reach one hundred at the most!” he yelled another day. “It’s not even worth the bother.”

And he went on, “It’s all a big masquerade, all make-believe and making out you’re the best at it.”

Nothing had ever indicated that Pierre Anthon was the smartest among us, but suddenly we all knew he was. He was onto something. Even if none of us cared to admit it. Not to our parents, not to our teachers, not to one another. Not even to ourselves. We didn’t want to live in the world Pierre Anthon was telling us about. We were going to amount to something, be someone.

The smiling door wasn’t going to lure us.

No, sir. No way!

That was why we came up with the idea. “We” is perhaps an exaggeration, because it was Pierre Anthon who got us going.

It was one morning when Sofie had been hit in the head by two hard plums one after another, and she was so mad at Pierre Anthon for just sitting there in his tree, disheartening all of us.

“All you ever do is sit there gawking. Is that any better?” she yelled.

“I’m not gawking,” Pierre Anthon replied calmly. “I’m contemplating the sky and getting used to doing nothing.”

“The heck you are!” Sofie yelled angrily, and hurled a stick up at Pierre Anthon in the plum tree. It landed in the hedge, way beneath him.

Pierre Anthon laughed and hollered so loud they could have heard him all the way up at the school.

“If something’s worth getting upset about, then there must be something worth getting happy about. And if something’s worth getting happy about, then there must be something that matters. But there isn’t!” He raised his voice a notch and roared, “In a few years you’ll all be dead and forgotten and diddly-squat, nothing, so you might just as well start getting used to it!”

That was when we understood we had to get Pierre Anthon out of that plum tree.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from Nothing by Janne Teller. Copyright © 2010 by Janne Teller. Excerpted by permission of Atheneum Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Treetop Philosopher

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.