Films die nergens draaien
An enchanting time-travel story about a girl who misses her dead mother
Her mum has been dead, almost to the exact minute, for as long as twelve-year-old Cato has been alive. Since his wife’s death, her dad has hidden himself away. The rebellious Cato becomes angrier and angrier about having to live in a world where she and her mum cannot both exist.
That gives this ambitious novel a strong emotional impact. Cato is an engaging, vibrant character, the smooth text has many beautiful turns of phrase, and the plot is ingenious.
Cato finds a business card from Mrs Kano’s Cinema on her dad’s piano, with the slogan ‘movies showing nowhere, though you wish they were’ and the address of an old cinema that has been empty for years. So, of course, she decides to go and take a look.
At the dilapidated cinema – a wonderful place that appeals to the imagination – Cato meets a mysterious woman. And when Cato touches the cinema screen, it turns out to be liquid – it’s like dipping her fingers into a puddle of milk. She gradually discovers that the screen is a gateway to memories.
Goldewijk has reimagined the idea of time travel in this book, in a fantastically original way. The beauty is that he keeps the magical aspect minimal, giving it a clear function in the larger human story about Cato’s struggles. Her experiences at the cinema bring about change in her difficult relationship with her dad and help her – in a very moving scene – to come to terms with her mother’s death.
This book, with its admirably inventive plot, tells a compelling and beautiful story about daring to embrace life, even when it is painful.