Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book Review: Berlinerpopplarna av Anne B. Ragde

Just after forcing myself to finish Heat, I picked up a Norwegian book in Swedish called Berlinerpopplarna (The Berlin Poplars) by Anne B. Ragde that I got from my best friend KV (it is translated into English, aren't you lucky!). What a joy! The story is about three brothers and what happens when they are called to their mother's deathbed. One, the oldest at 54, runs the old farm that is still owned by the mother. The middle boy is a undertaker, and the first chapter made me cry because it describes grief so well. The youngest son is gay and lives in Copenhagen and hasn't been home to his parents home in 20 years. The oldest son has a daughter, 37-year year old Torunn, that he has never met and nobody except his mom knows about, but calls he calls her when her grandmother gets a stroke, and she also shows up at the farm.

This is a great book, with vivid, descriptive language and it is obvious that the author knows a lot about people, psychology, and dysfunctional families. Despite all the despair in the book it ends on a positive note, and I really liked it. The author has a way of describing the complexity of people and their faults and strengths in a non-judgmental way I really liked. This could have been a real story, and I wonder if someone is planning to make it into a movie, since it seems to fit so well for that. Oh, I just found out it was made into a TV series by Norwegian public television. I always read when I go to bed to go to sleep, and most books I read 1-2 pages and then I am out. Not this one, I finished it in 5 evenings! Heat took me forever.

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