A friend handed me her copy of Astrid & Veronika by Linda Olsson before we came home to Oregon. Night before last I picked it up again and found myself reading until late into the night. I suppose that is enough of a recommendation for any book.
The author, Linda Olsson is a Swedish born author now living in New Zealand. She describes herself as
…an increasingly frustrated accompanying wife who turned to creative writing.
“A frustrated accompanying wife” was the part that I was fascinated by more than anything. I think that the books she writes are probably the result of that frustration. The aloneness that comes from being taken from the things that she knew and loved left the space for creativity that a fulfilling life does not. Or I think that might be how a lawyer/banker turned author comes to that place. I am sure that this creative process is very unlike the one that people that write in their crib experience.
I can’t say I was comfortable reading Astrid & Veronica like I was when I read Under the Tuscan Sun for example. It was, however, a very well written book, just deep enough and long enough. It made me think about the result of women’s experiences. This book can help one understand how the choice is actually the victims. They can choose how they live the remainder of their lives after the damage is done. I was very disappointed with the choices that Astrid, the elder of the two women, made. I was equally uncomfortable with Veronika’s response when she heard the story 50 or more years later.
In the end though, I know that changing the book would have somehow altered the tenor of the whole book. Sometimes books are well written enough that it carries us along, with or without our approval.
My suggestion is that your book club buy one copy and pass it around. Give each person two days to read it. Then, if you are really ambitious, rewrite or make suggestions for the paragraph that you would have changed. Let me know how it goes.
Note:I have now begun reading a gift book. The Writer Life by Annie Dillard has caught my attention. (Thank you Susan for the wonderful read.) Because I am new to writing and don’t really understand the process that needs to accompany a truly quality piece of writing, I am learning so much from taking the writer’s journey through the process of writing a novel. I will let you know how it turns out.
This may well by one of my goals during the new year. Rewriting is NOT my passion! But I think I may well learn to love it as I should.