Crossings: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Historical fiction, mystery and myth are packed into Crossings by Alex Landragin - a whirlwind debut novel reminiscent of Cloud Atlas, Life After Life and even The Time Traveler’s Wife. This is a novel that should not be passed up! The preface to the novel begins, “I didn’t write this book. I stole it” and thus begins the story of three manuscripts delivered to the narrator for bookbinding. How the stories connect is revealed whether the novel is read sequentially or in the “Baroness sequence” - a sequence outlined in the beginning of the book that is reminiscent of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel. It’s a story within the story within the story. It’s a novel that contains multitudes and it’s why I love it so much! I was taken across time and history in the most magical way. — From Michelle's Picks (page 1)

August 2020 Indie Next List

“Whoa! I am blown away by this book! A few wandering souls travel over time and space from the early 1800s to WWII in this truly unique story of love, struggle, and the desire to make things right. This book can be read two different ways: from cover to cover or in a page order mapped out at the beginning. It is a completely different reading experience depending on which way you choose. The atmosphere of Crossings is one of Sherlock Holmes written by a David Mitchell-esque character with a love for literature and Paris. This novel is beyond explanation—just read it!”
— Danica Ramgoolam, Townie Books, Crested Butte, CO


"A sparkling debut. Landragin’s seductive literary romp shines as a celebration of the act of storytelling." Publishers Weekly

"Romance, mystery, history, and magical invention dance across centuries in an impressive debut novel."
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Deft writing seduces the reader in a complex tale of pursuit, denial, and retribution moving from past to future. Highly recommended."
Library Journal (Starred Review)

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, 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.

About the Author

ALEX LANDRAGIN is a French-Armenian-Australian writer. Currently based in Melbourne, Australia, he has also resided in Paris, Marseille, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Charlottesville. He has previously worked as a librarian, an indigenous community worker and an author of Lonely Planet travel guides in Australia, Europe and Africa. Alex holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne and occasionally performs early jazz piano under the moniker Tenderloin Stomp.

Praise For…

August 2020 Indie Next Pick!

"A sparkling debut. Landragin’s seductive literary romp shines as a celebration of the act of storytelling." —Publishers Weekly

"Romance, mystery, history, and magical invention dance across centuries in an impressive debut novel. Landragin layers historical fiction, metafiction, mystery, fantasy, myth, and romance in a way that might remind readers of such books as Cloud Atlas, Life After Life, The Time Traveler’s Wife—or even Dan Brown’s conspiracy-based adventures, albeit with more elegant prose Landragin carries off the whole handsomely written enterprise with panache." —Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

"This novel is outstanding for its sheer inventiveness. The alternative ordering of chapters creates a tension that heightens the awareness of the interlocking aspects of time and space, while deft writing seduces the reader in a complex tale of pursuit, denial, and retribution moving from past to future. Highly recommended." —Library Journal (Starred)

"A high-concept speculative adventure novel executed with intelligence and invigorating puzzle of a book that reads like a complete, intricate work of genre-defying fiction."

"Netflix would do well to option it immediately." —New York Times Book Review

"Alex Landragin has created something entirely original." —Shelf Awareness

"An exquisite novel. My initial melancholy rage at not having written it myself swiftly transformed into blissful gratitude that it exists at all, and that I am lucky enough to read it. Sure to be one of the biggest literary events of the year."
—Sam J. Miller, Nebula Award Winning author of Blackfish City

"This delightful puzzle box of a novel is full of clever structural tricks that echo works by Nabokov and Cortazar, but Crossings goes beyond postmodern gamesmanship and finds real heart and soul in its compelling characters and old-fashioned storytelling ethos. Alex Landragin has given us a deeply satisfying read!"
—Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

"Crossings is at once a romance, a puzzle box, and a supernatural mystery that spans not only the globe but also the centuries. Landragin has crafted a richly imaginative novel sure to appeal to fans of Cloud Atlas and Possession."
—Tom Sweterlitsch, award-winning author of The Gone World

Crossings is playful, obsessive, romantic, intelligent, and wholly absorbing, with fascinations enough for a whole shelf of novels. I followed its alternate sequence rather than its conventional one, and reading it I had the unusual—for me maybe even unprecedented—sense, no matter where I was in the page count, that I was always occupying its exact center. Like its characters, I was never sure how close I was to the beginning of the story, how close to the end, which gave it an aura of inexhaustibility. It's a book that feels not endless but endlessly replenishable."
—Kevin Brockmeier, New York Times Bestselling author

“Alex Landragin works a vast magician’s kit of erudite invention and heart in this enchanting debut. Crossings is a novel to savor and re-read."
—Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250259042
ISBN-10: 1250259045
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 28th, 2020
Pages: 384
Language: English