by Birgitta Hjalmarson
The Historical Novels Review on Fylgia
Anna is a proud, intelligent older woman recounting her life in the dark, serious atmosphere of Sweden. Her story begins in the time just preceding World War I. In Hult, the residents rigidly follow the Lutheran religion and fiercely reject any modern ways that would water down what they consider sacred tradition. Indeed, the village minister serves more as a local cop, conveying words of fire and brimstone damnation on anyone who veers in even the slightest direction from the Bible and the laws that flow from it. Now, however, socialism is becoming attractive to a few of the town residents. Anna is deeply in love with Fredrik Otter, a wise man who advocates modern farming techniques but is rejected. He loves two women, ergo the dilemma between Anna and the “other woman.” The outcome is intense and the cost to Anna is high. Reality is not to be denied, not even by the fantastic suggestions Anna receives.
Something intriguing and gripping flows through every page of this unique work of fiction. The atmosphere is rather hard and almost melancholic, but Anna is the bright, feisty character whose strength and determination overrule the morose rules and regulations of her community, in attitude if not in actual application. She is unafraid to confront the minister and even the leader of the community, Rammen (aka Grim Larsson, her father). We move with the people of Hult through WWI, the Spanish Flu, the Great Recession, WWII and modern times, a world where matchmaking still exists but love finds a way beyond public restrictions. This is classic historical fiction spanning several decades and revealing the characters behind the veil of Swedish law. Beautifully crafted.
by Birgitta Hjalmarson
Journal by Birgitta Hjalmarson SUSAN MARY MALONE / JUNE 26, 2018 Creating a Great Novel out of Historical Events This week we have an interview with Birgitta Hjalmarson, whose beautiful novel, Fylgia,was published this month by...
Journal by Birgitta Hjalmarson READING TOMAS TRANSTROMER Tomas Transtromer’s poems won’t leave you alone. They’re dark, infused with dread, but also shot through with light, as when, nearby, a string quartet plays Schubert. So much...
Journal by Birgitta Hjalmarson Chapter One Excerpt I STILL GO to the grave. My younger self runs ahead. I follow, cutting through the forest and staying away from the country road. An old woman in a beret and a tweed jacket. Anemones cover the...