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Invisible Links Paperback – April 27, 2009
About the Author
Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf wurde am 20. November 1858 auf Gut Mårbacka in Värmland, Schweden geboren und starb am 16. März 1940 ebendort. Sie war eine der bekanntesten Schriftstellerinnen des Landes und gehört zu den schwedischen Autoren, deren Werke zur Weltliteratur zählen. 1909 erhielt sie als erste Frau den Nobelpreis für Literatur. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After giving up on Lagerlof's better known 'Gosta Berling', I thought I would try this volume of thirteen of her short stories. I would rate these as extremely variable, between 4/5 for those set in the real world, and 2/5 for the numerous ones with a faerie element - during the latter my concentration kept wandering.
There are some lovely descriptions of the Swedish countryside, and thoughts on life and religion. I enjoyed 'The Legend of the Bird's Nest', where Hatto the Hermit, a curmudgeonly old man 'who drove the little children away from his hole telling them that it had been best for them if they had never been born', finds a family of birds nesting in his hand as he stands still, and comes to understand God's love:
'Perhaps,when all was said, God the Father held this earth in His right hand like a big bird's nest, and perhaps He had come to cherish love for all those who build and dwell there.'
Didn't leave me with any great wish to read more of Ms Lagerlof's work.
Invisible Links is the first in a series of reprints of Selma Lagerlöf's works from Penfield Press. This collection of Lagerlöf's earlier short stories depicts the Swedish people, their lives and struggles, through glimpses into their souls. This updated edition is an abridged version of Pauline Bancroft Flach's 1899 translation, except "The Epitaph," that was included in the Swedish collection and translated by Jessie Brochner.
Selma Lagerlöf's storytelling includes elements of folk legends, fairy tales, and dreams. There are avenging ghosts and ghosts with good advice; there are tragic and happy endings. Her wise, compassionate voice narrates tales that are both dramatic and perplexing.
There are lighter stories. "Uncle Reuben" is a comic fable about the use of family legends to keep children in line. "Downie" is a love story set in springtime. And "Among the Climbing Roses" is about the insect friends to be found in the summer garden. Lively and intimate observations of the natural world are woven through all the stories, lending them an authentic beauty.
Lagerlöf explores the boundaries between illusion and reality, good and evil, the forces of life and destruction. Her stories do not come up with easy answers. What is certain is that the meanings human beings create, the links-or fetters-connecting them with the world, are nothing less than sacred. In Lagerlöf's fiction, this conviction becomes the lifeblood of the storyteller and reader alike.