A Scandinavian Gone With the Wind.
Herbj rg Wassmo was born and bred in northern Norway, and her writing is deeply rooted in the culture and nature of this northern coastline. She became a teacher but her first book, a collection of poetry, was published in 1976, and since then she has become one of the foremost Scandinavian writers. Her previous books include the Tora trilogy. She received the Literary Critics' Award in 1982, the Booksellers' Award in 1984 and the Nordic Council Literature Prize - equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize - in 1987. She has also written a collection of short stories entitled Journeys (1995), and her latest book is a long awaited contemporary novel, The Seventh Meeting. Herbj rg Wassmo's novels are translated into twenty lanuages. Dina's Book and Dina's Son are the first two titles in the Dina trilogy.
The fine line between sanity and insanity is tested in this riveting novel of 19th-century Norway. Dina feels rejection and guilt for, at age five, having accidentally caused her mother's death. As a willful tomboy, she is married off at age 16 to a man her father's age. After he teaches her the joys of sexuality and wine, he dies suddenly and mysteriously. Widowed and pregnant, Dina becomes actively involved in the management of her husband's ample estate, though she is now haunted by two ghosts. When a Russian wanderer dips in and out of her life, she becomes a woman obsessed. Though the focus of the book is on Dina's character, the setting is vividly portrayed, and the action brings one surprise after another. The author is winner of the Nordic Council Prize. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md.
Set in mid-19th century Norway and infused with Scandinavian-style magical realism, this spellbinding novel calls to mind Eliot's Middlemarch and the film Babette's Feast. Willful Dina's character is shaped by her involvement in the grisly accident that kills her mother, after which she temporarily loses the power of speech and permanently distances herself from the strictures of upper-class life in remote, sub-Arctic Nordland. Wild and unmanageable, Dina is sent from home soon after the accident to be raised in a poor cotter's family. She remains mute for several years, until she returns to her father's house where she is taken in hand by a tutor who teaches her music and mathematics. At age 15, Dina is married off to Jacob, a wealthy older landowner. After Jacob's unexpected death (in another accident in which Dina plays a part), his forceful, unconventional widow takes over his estate, bending its people to her will. Though beset by ghosts and a nearly papable grief, Dina proves to be a survivor. Insightful, memorable characterizations, coupled with spare, unadorned prose, move the haunting narrative swiftly to its enigmatic finish. Wassmo was named ``The Author of the Eighties'' by Norwegian booksellers; she also won the prestigious Nordic Council Literature Prize. 25,000 first printing. (Apr.)