Author: Per Petterson
Review by: Little Red Hen
The story takes place in a small village, at the tip of Jutand, almost as far north as it is possible to go. It is the story of a young Danish girl entering womanhood. I was moved by the resilience of this young woman who early in her life encounters death in its various forms.
She lives with her strict religious family. In the family house, actually, in the family's cowshed, her grandfather has hung himself. Parental neglect and the imminent coming of the Nazis confront this young woman and her brother, Jesper.
They each take separate paths out of Denmark, Jesper goes south to Morocco, she plans to exit to Siberia via the Trans Siberian Railway. Her relationship with her brother, her devotion to him expands to saving his life from a near drowning and explains why she considers becoming a communist, her brother's solution.
The author is Norwegian, and the book has been translated to English by Anne Born, historian and poet who has translated many Scandinavian books into English.