Astrid & Veronika

Linda Olsson, Author . Penguin $14 (259p) ISBN 978-0-14-303807-8

In Swedish novelist Olsson's somber debut, Veronika Bergman returns to Sweden after a childhood following her diplomat father around the world (her mother abandoned the family), and after publishing her first novel titled Single, One Way, No Luggage . She rents a small house in a rural town to work on her second, but in solitude finds herself seized by feverish dreams and paralyzed by the "stillness" of the landscape and the memories of her recently dead fiancé. Reclusive septuagenarian Astrid Mattson, thought by the village to be a witch, takes an interest in Veronika, and the two strike up a friendship based on loss. Against the backdrop of the changing seasons and their small, plangent houses, the two women slowly tell each other their most closely guarded secrets (which concern their mothers and lovers), and venture, tentatively, out of the safety of their routines. Olsson has a clear feel for the emotional wellsprings of both characters, but can't convert her terse lyricism into a fully realized story. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/22/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
Compact Disc - 978-1-4281-7052-0
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4295-1031-8
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-53694-0
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-84-9838-465-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-0069-8
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