"Astrid & Veronika" by Linda Olsson

As I have now outed myself as a “coverholic”, I feel that I need to confess that I sought out this book based purely on its cover alone.  There is something about it – inviting I guess – and when I saw it on someones blog, I instantly put it on my “want” list.  It did not sit long on my nightstand.

This is a debut novel that examines the unexpected friendship between two women.  One is a recluse, who has removed herself so completely from her small Swedish town that the locals refer to her as a witch.  The other is a young 30-something author, removing herself from any sort of memory of her life, so as to immerse herself into her next novel.  The two women have suffered in their individual ways, but have found a deep and profound friendship in each other that helps them both heal.

My first thought was, Sweden?  What is it with Sweden lately?  Yes, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is still in my head, especially since its sequel is now sitting on my nightstand.  But honestly, there is such a similarity in the description of landscape, foods, and the seasons that must ring true of the country and its people.  I continue to be intrigued on that level.  The travel bug in my heart is making future plans….   My second thought – this book is beautiful.  The writing is almost like poetry….  lyrical.  The words….  the words…   they invoke such imagery and yet can be so halting, arresting.  I wonder if its a product of the translation?  I’m not sure, but it works for me.

I am not sure if I am going to include this as one of my “Reader’s Challenge” books – but I reserve the right to include it later if I’m short a book!

Here is the publisher’s website for the book.

Astrid & Veronika
by Linda Olsson
Penguin Books, 2005
246 pages

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