Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Another Scandanavian Novel

Finished September 27

To Siberia by Per Petterson

This wonderful novel is narrated by a young Danish girl from her childhood through the German occupation of Denmark during World War II to a few years after the war. She is very close to her older brother Jesper, who watches over her, teases her, and cares deeply for her. He calls her Sistermine, which I found a lovely term. They live in a small town, with their father, a cabinetmaker, and their mother, a religious zealot who writes her own hymns. The family also moves before the war to an apartment over a dairy and they run the dairy as well. They go regularly to visit their grandfather's farm and help with harvest. The Germans arrive when the girl is 14 and the occupation from her point of view is described very well. She and Jesper grow ever closer until he must run from the Germans. After the war, her wanderlust, always a part of her, takes her away and she tries various jobs in various places, always set apart from others around her. The characterization here is very well done and you feel the loneliness of her life and her longing for something else. The title comes from her plans, even as a child to someday go to Siberia.

No comments:

Post a Comment