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Astrid and Veronika Paperback – February 6, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Veronika, a 30-year-old Swedish writer, rents a home in a remote village to finish work on her second novel. Her only neighbor for miles is Astrid, a reclusive octogenarian who has earned a reputation (perhaps undeserved) as the village witch. Veronika and Astrid gradually become friends, taking long walks and sipping wine made from the wild strawberries in Astrid's garden. Each shares painful secrets along the way. Veronika abandoned a devoted boyfriend to take up with a bartender from New Zealand. They fell passionately in love, then tragedy befell him, leaving Veronika incapacitated by grief. Astrid endured sexual abuse from her father and a long loveless marriage to a man chosen by him. Until now, she has never told anyone the truth about her infant daughter's death. This is the first novel for Olsson, a native of Stockholm who now lives in New Zealand. Though the pace of her narrative lags at times, readers of Anne Tyler and Jodi Picoult will appreciate the lyrical prose and expert rendering of the themes of heartbreak and loss. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
All people are separated from themselves and their loves for various reasons and we cannot imagine the reasons why they do until we get to peel the layers of people's life stories that make them who they are. But friendship offers hope and redemption. Astrid's and Veronika's story is poignant and moving, it goes beyond beautiful, it is uplifting and transcendent. Lisa Olsson also genuinely captures the solitude that each protagonist lives. She weaves a parallel stitching of two lives liberated by companionship and love.
I personally like what she said about love never leaving us in spite of all that we go through.
I would recommend this book to friends..