cover image THE CROW-GIRL: The Children of Crow Cove

THE CROW-GIRL: The Children of Crow Cove

Bodil Bredsdorff, Bodil Bredesdorff, , trans. by Faith Ingwersen. . FSG, $16 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-374-31247-3

Marking this Danish author's English-language debut, this lyrical novel opens in a remote cottage, where a woman has taught her granddaughter time-honored ways of wresting a living from the sea. Knowing that she is dying, the grandmother passes along to the apparently nameless girl several nuggets of advice, for example, that she must "continue wishing and hoping, for then, at last, you will get what was wished and hoped for—even if it is in a completely different way from what you had imagined." Although the girl realizes the futility of her sole wish—that her grandmother not die—after the woman's death the child finds the strength she needs to remain hopeful and does, indeed, find happiness in unexpected ways. Packing her few belongings, she follows the coast to a hamlet where a scheming woman offers her shelter and where she stumbles into the name Crow-Girl, due to her coloring and her curved nose. The lass has the good sense to flee from the evil-doer and the good fortune to encounter a sequence of individuals (some of whom have also endured monumental loss) with whom she forges mutually fulfilling bonds. The peripatetic story winds to a close that, despite its fairy tale quality, is credible and satisfying. Imagery involving water, hands and crows becomes a resonant element of the narrative. Readers will hope that more of Bredsdorff's sturdy fiction reaches these shores. Ages 8-12. (May )