Scandinavian Literature in Translation || Littérature scandinave en traduction

Archive for February 2009

Kerstin Ekman: God’s Mercy

leave a comment »

Wolfskin Trilogy 1: God’s Mercy
Kerstin Ekman
Bison Books
ISBN 978-0-8032-2458-2
July 2009 (USA)*

* Canadian price and availability (via Nebraska/Codasat/UTP) not known at this time.


When Hillevi, a young, inexperienced midwife, moves from the university town of Uppsala to the wilderness of Svartvattnet (Blackwater) to be with her unofficial fiancé, she is ill prepared for what awaits her. In this frigid, austere, and isolated territory, she encounters the overwhelming and unpredictable forces of nature and demoralizing poverty and ignorance while also gaining access to the unfamiliar world of nomadic Sami reindeer herders. A single traumatic event, never fully confronted, has devastating and far-reaching repercussions, but Hillevi also finds unexpected warmth and love.

Incorporating elements of the jojk oral tradition of Sami culture, God’s Mercy is a thoroughly engrossing story about the capriciousness of memory, the resilience of the human psyche, and the endless wonder of the wild.

God’s Mercy is the first novel in the “Wolfskin” trilogy, which includes The Last String and Scratchcards.

Written by Thomas

2009-02-15 at 17:47

Kerstin Ekman : Crimes au bord de l’eau

leave a comment »

12 ans après sa sortie initiale, il est finalement disponible en format poche :

Crimes au bord de l’eau
Kerstin Ekman
Actes Sud/Leméac, « Babel. Noir »
ISBN 978-2-7427-6794-6 (France)
ISBN 978-2-7609-2676-9 (Canada)
14 novembre 2007
19,95 $ au Canada

In English: Blackwater


Lauréat du Grand Prix de littérature du Conseil nordique 1994

A presque vingt ans d’intervalle, deux crimes ont été commis au bord d’un lac magnifique, tout au nord de la Suède, près de la frontière norvégienne. Coïncidence ? Malédiction ? Vengeance tardive ?

De non-dits en soupçons, l’enquête sur le crime initial – deux jeunes touristes sauvagement assassinés dans leur tente par une belle nuit de la Saint-Jean – a piétiné pendant dix-huit ans, énigme irrésolue dont le mystère attirait les touristes…

Adeptes d’un culte paganiste, braconniers, membres d’une communauté, travailleurs forestiers, frères ennemis d’une même famille… les habitants de la région qui devrait être tranquille sont tous de fervents amateurs de nature. Simples témoins ou parfaits suspects, ils sont, à leurs heures, des promeneurs au bord de l’eau…

Construit sur le mode du thriller, Crimes au bord de l’eau est avant tout un roman très charnel qui met en scène des individus et un milieu. Ce milieu, c’est la nature dont Kerstin Ekman, comme dans Les Brigands de la forêt de Skule, célèbre passionnément la magie et la sensualité. Bruissante, froide ou brûlante, la forêt est ici un véritable théâtre où s’érotisent d’inquiétantes rencontres, où s’obscurcissent les identités et les comportements, l’antique labyrinthe où se perd la logique des enquêtes…

Kerstin Ekman: Blackwater

leave a comment »

An oldie but a goodie:

Kerstin Ekman

ISBN 978-0-09-952121-1
28 May 1996
$21.95 in Canada

ISBN 978-0-312-15247-5
15 December 1996
$18.00 in Canada

En français : Crimes au bord de l’eau


Winner of the 1994 Nordic Council Literature Prize

Midsummer eve, 1974, in the far north of Sweden. Annie Raft arrives with her six-year-old daughter in a small town called Blackwater to join her lover Dan on a commune. But Dan is not there to meet them. Panicking, Annie treks into the wilderness to find the commune, in the strange, hovering light of midsummer night. By the river, she finds a tent; and inside it two bodies hideously murdered – stabbed so violently that the feathers from their sleeping bag scatter the ground. Many years later, Annie has settled in the region, and Mia, her daughter has grown up. Early one morning glimpses Mia in the arms of the man she believes responsible for the murders. The seemingly inexplicable crime, long buried, is forced to come to its own dark and unexpected conclusion.


On Midsummer’s Eve, 1974, Annie Raft arrives with her daughter Mia in the remote Swedish village of Blackwater to join her lover Dan on a nearby commune. On her journey through the deep forest, she sumbles upon the site of a grisly double murder–a crime that will remain unsolved for nearly twenty years, until the day Annie sees her grown daughter in the arms of one man she glimpsed in the forest that eerie midsummer night.

Like Gorky Park and Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Blackwater is a unique trhiller in which the hearts and minds of the characters are as strikingly compelling as the exotic northern landscape that envelops them.

Written by Thomas

2009-02-15 at 17:19

Ninni Holmqvist: The Unit

leave a comment »

The Unit
Ninni Holmqvist
Other Press
ISBN 978-1-59051-313-2
9 June 2009
$17.50 in Canada


One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty–single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders. In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and…well, then what?

The Unit is a gripping exploration of a society in the throes of an experiment, in which the “dispensable” ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the “necessary” ones. Ninni Holmqvist has created a debut novel of humor, sorrow, and rage about love, the close bonds of friendship, and about a cynical, utilitarian way of thinking disguised as care.

Written by Thomas

2009-02-15 at 16:43

Henning Mankell: The Eye of the Leopard (Paperback)

leave a comment »

Forthcoming paperback release:

The Eye of the Leopard
Henning Mankell
ISBN 978-0-307-39784-3
14 April 2009
$21.00 in Canada

See also: hardback edition


Interweaving past and present, Sweden and Zambia, The Eye of the Leopard draws on bestselling author Henning Mankell’s deep understanding of the two worlds he has inhabited for over twenty years.

Hans Olofson lived through a tough childhood. His father drank himself into oblivion, and his mother was completely absent, only faded photographs offered Olofson any hint of what she may have been like. His adolescence was just as trying, and when his best friend and lover, Janine, tragically dies, he flees to Africa to carry out Janine’s only real dream in life — to visit the grave of a legendary missionary in isolated Northern Zambia. Upon his arrival in Zambia, Olofson is stunned. He finds it beautiful and mysterious, so he decides to stay and make it his home, eventually taking control of a small farm. It is there that Olofson discovers the fragile truce between the rich newcomers and black natives of the recently independent state . . . a truce that could rupture at any moment.

Alternating between Olofson’s years in Africa and those in Sweden, The Eye of the Leopard is a bravura achievement, a study in contrasts — black and white, poor and wealthy, Africa and Europe — and an exploration of the challenges and responsibilities that come with freedom.

Written by Thomas

2009-02-15 at 16:19

Henning Mankell: Italian Shoes

leave a comment »

Italian Shoes
Henning Mankell
The New Press
ISBN 978-1-59558-436-6
14 April 2009
$33.95 in Canada

En français : Les chaussures italiennes


From the prizewinning “master of atmosphere” (Boston Globe) comes the surprising and affecting story of a man well past middle age who suddenly finds himself on the threshold of renewal.

Living on a tiny island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives in a stasis so complete an anthill grows undisturbed in his living room.

When an unexpected visitor alters his life completely, thus begins an eccentric, elegiac journey—one that shows Mankell at the very height of his powers as a novelist.

A deeply human tale of loss and redemption, Italian Shoes is a testament to the unpredictability of life, which breeds hope even in the face of tragedy.

Written by Thomas

2009-02-15 at 16:07

Henrik Ibsen: Four Major Plays

leave a comment »

New edition:

Four Major Plays
Henrik Ibsen
Oxford University Press
ISBN 978-0-19-953619-1
8 June 2008
$9.95 in Canada


A Doll’s House provoked uproar when it made its Scandinavian debut in 1879. In it, and its immediate successor, Ghosts, Ibsen brought to light attitudes that a self-righteous, hypocritical society would have preferred to leave unexamined; his heroines’ perceptions about society and their position in it are conveyed with a clarity that is still shockingly dramatic.

In Hedda Gabler and The Master Builder Ibsen shifted his focus from the pressures exerted on women by society to the pressures individuals exert on other individuals in their urge to dominate and control one another. Hedda Gabler, ‘a-crawl with the foulest passions of humanity’, as one contemporary reviewer claimed, is also a flawed idealist in an anguished private dilemma; in creating her Ibsen brought dramatic prose towards the expression of a reality beneath the surface of words.

This collection of plays is taken from the Oxford Ibsen, James McFarlane’s acclaimed scholarly edition.

Written by Thomas

2009-02-15 at 15:19