The only thing more inviting than the cover of this rather short novel is the story itself. Linda Olsson's first novel Astrid & Veronika is beautifully written and the two women come to full life as their stories unfold slowly over the course of four seasons.
This is a story about home; two homes really. Veronika comes to live in one home running from her life. Astrid has always lived in the other home to avoid life. In spite of the fifty years between their ages, the two women come to be just what the other needed. Olsson paints a picture of the two houses, the two women, and the beauty that surrounds them in darkness and light. To add to the wonder of this novel, the author includes translated verses of poems (with references should one wish to read more) throughout.
I read this book in two short bursts and was often surprised at the outcomes when I thought I knew what was coming. We learn about the women in two voices - Veronika's and Astrid's. Often sad and often uplifting, I could not put this book down and cannot wait to read it again.
One passage led me to think about blogging in our often lonely busy electronic world. Astrid said:
I think that if we can find the words, and if we can find someone to tell them to, then perhaps we can see things differently. (p. 153)
I can think of many instances in my life when it was very difficult to find the words to describe an event of great joy or great sorrow. But in considering the event enough to find the right words and sharing them with a friend, the event takes on a new, and perhaps more clear, meaning. Even committing events or feelings to our blogs, we define how we felt and even why. I wish that I could find all of the right words to talk about how this book made me feel. It reminded me of who we are, how we relate to nature, how secrets must be shared, what it feels like to come home.
Olsson's next novel Sonata for Miriam is released this month - I should run to the bookstore to see if I can find it. Her writing is beautiful and will surely get even better.
TITLE: Astrid & Veronika
AUTHOR: Linda Olsson
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