With extraordinary emotional power, Linda Olsson's stunningly well-crafted debut novel recounts the unusual and unexpected friendship that develops between two women. Veronika, a young writer, rents a house in a small Swedish village as she tries to come to terms with a recent tragedy while... read more
Veronika, a young writer from New Zealand, rents a house in a small village in the midst of a harsh Swedish winter. She has come here alone hoping to come to terms with a recent tragedy while finishing her latest novel. Her arrival is observed by Astrid, her elderly, reclusive neighbor who... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Veronika, a young writer from New Zealand, rents a house in a small village in the midst of a harsh Swedish winter. She has come here alone hoping to come to terms with a recent tragedy while finishing her latest novel. Her arrival is observed by Astrid, her elderly, reclusive neighbor who harbors a dark secret from her past. Astrid offers Veronika companionship in her grief, and the two embark on an unusual and unexpect friendship. As the season change around them, Astrid and Veronika slowly reveal their stories to one another, and what happens between them over the cours of a year will change both their lives forever.
“I will look out for you.”Astrid Mattson
“There are no secrets here. Everybody knows everything about everybody. Or they would like to think they do. Secrets have to be well guarded, and the price is high. Solitude. The price is solitude.”Astrid Mattson
“I have lived in this village my entire life, and most of my life I have been alone. I am old now. Nearly eighty years old. And with each passing day, it seems as if time goes ever mroe slowly. A day now seems longer than the entire life that went before. A season is eternity.”Astrid Mattson
“It is as if time is irrelevant. My life's memories take up space with no regard to when they happened, or to there actual time-span. Thememories of brief incidents occupy almost all time, while years of my life have left no trace.”Astrid Mattson
“Thinking about it now, I wonder. I think that perhaps there are not such defining moments at all. Beginnings and ends are fluid, long chains of events where some links seem so insignificant and others so very momentous, while in fact all have the same weight. What may appear as a single dramatic moment is just a link between what was before and what comes after.”Astrid Mattson
“It is in the nature of things to change. Nothing can last beyond its given time. And I think that instinctively we know what that time is. What is it that makes us know where the summer turns? The smallest shift in the light? The slightest hit of chill in the morning air? A certian rustling of the leaves of the birches? That is how it is - suddenly, in the midst of the summer heat, you are overcome by a tightening of your heart. The realisation that it will all come to an end. And that brings a new intensity to everything: the colours, the smells, the feeling of sunshine on your arm.”Astrid Mattson
“I wish now that I had held on to the memories of that summer. Perhaps things would have turned out differently if I had. Instead, I allowed what had gone before and what came after to overshadow it. I should have cared for it, the way I cared for my strawberry patch. Allowed it to develop new growth, new fruit. But perhaps they are one and the same, the strawberry patch and the memories of that one summer. Finally retrieved.”Astrid Mattson
“Some of my clearest memories are of the briefest moments.”Veronika Bergman
“Time. I don't understand it. I think I have never grasped the essence of time. Memories seem to surface in no particular order, with no time attached. Yesterday can seem as distant as last year.”Veronika Bergman
“My life now consists of fragments where some are so blinding in their intensity that they make everything else indistinguishable. What shall I do with these glittering shards? There is no pattern; I can't make them fit. With each other, or with the whole that should be my life. It feels as if my existence was extinguished in a flash, and afterwards my universe became incomprehensible. Just shards and particles, which I carry with me wherever I go. They are sharp and they still hurt to touch. And they are so heavy. I know there is more - there are less intense fragments that I need to make it whole. I want to remember everytiing. But perhaps I need to give it more time. Allow myself some rest. Distance myself a little, to see if I can make out a pattern. And face the truth about what is really there.”Veronika Bergman
“As if all that had been my life until then abruptly came to an end, and everything I had known before faded away. I was instantly transported inot a world with brighter colours, sharper sounds, more intense flavours and smells. And for a time I thought it was mine.”Veronika Bergman
“As if this was the past, the present and the future, all at the same time, and we could not afford to lose even the smallest detail.”Veronika Bergman
“Always remember your love.”Astrid Mattson
“I think that if we just listen to ourselves we know what it si we have to do, and I have come to think that however much it hurts, however hard it is, we have to listen. We have to live our lives.”Astrid Mattson
“There was love. I think there must have been love. I think it's when you become convinced that it's been lost that sometimes it turns into its opposite. We must remember that out live is inside us. Always.”Astrid Mattson
“There was a long time when I took comfort from from having nothing. Nobody. But now I know that we are not meant to live like that. I am not sad that my insight came so late. I am grateful that it came at all. To some, my life may seem tragic. Wasted. That is not how it appears to me. You have given me a new perspective. You pulled me out into the bight life again, opened my eyes. Made the ice thaw. Am I am so very grateful.”Astrid Mattson
“Love comes to us with no forewarning, and once given to us it can never be taken away. We must remember that. It can never be lost. Love is not measurable. It cannot be counted in years, minutes or seconds, kilos or grams. It cannot be quantified in any way. Nor can it be compared, one with the other. It simply is. The briefest brush with real love can sustain you for a lifetime. We must always remember that.”Astrid Mattson
“Live, Veronika! Take risks! That is really what life is about. We must pursue our own happiness. Nobody has ever lived our lives; there are no guidelines. Trust your instincts. Accept nothing but the best. But then also look for it carefully. Don't allow it to slip between your fingers. Sometimes, good things come to us in such a quiet fashion. And nothing comes complete. It is what we make of whatever we encounter that determines the outcome. What we choose to see, what we choose to save. And what, we choose to remember. Never forget that all the love in your life is there, inside you, always. It can never be taken from you.”Astrid Mattson
It is what we make of whatever we encounter that determines the outcome. What we choose to see, what we choose to save. And what we choose to remember. Never forget that all the love in your life is there, inside you, always. It can never be taken from you.Highlighted by 6 Kindle customers
‘Some of my clearest memories are of the briefest moments,’ Veronika continued. ‘I have years of life that have left no traces, and minutes that are so ingrained in my mind that I relive them every day.’Highlighted by 5 Kindle customers
think that if we can find the words, and if we can find someone to tell them to, then perhaps we can see things differently. But I had no words, and I had nobody.’Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
She looked out the window, where the hot summer air stood still. ‘Loneliness. Abandonment,’ she said. ‘But once you accept the fact that you have always been alone, and will always be, then your perspective can begin to change. You can become aware of the small kindnesses, the little comforts. Be grateful for them. And with time you will understand that there is nothing to fear. And much to be grateful for.’Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
‘Parents have such formidable power. They can protect you from all the pain in the world. Or inflict the hardest pain of all. And as children we accept what we get. Perhaps we believe that anything is better than that which we all fear the most.’Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
‘I’m sure there are extraordinary places that I will never see. But now I don’t mind.’ Her voice trailed off. ‘This day is enough. I know now that it would have made no difference. It was never about the place.’Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
My life’s memories take up space with no regard to when they happened, or to their actual time-span. The memories of brief incidents occupy almost all time, while years of my life have left no trace.’Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
Love comes to us with no forewarning, and once given to us it can never be taken away. We must remember that. It can never be lost. Love is not measurable. It cannot be counted in years, minutes or seconds, kilos or grams. It cannot be quantified in any way. Nor can it be compared, one with the other. It simply is. The briefest brush with real love can sustain you for a lifetime. We must always remember that.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
‘Such a long wait. I allowed life to slip away while I nurtured my hatred inside this house. Now I realise I made it my prison. I told myself I was safe here. I told myself I had to wait for the house to become my own. I chained myself to the house. Now I can see that all these years I have waited to be released, when all the time, the only bonds were those I made myself.’Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
I think that we imagine that they are lost, when what has happened is that they have become a part of us and can no longer be explored objectively.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
1 ...as the day breaks.
2 The smallest whirl, a ripple...
3 ...tell me, who will save you then?
4 Put your hand in mine, if you so wish?
5 I shall build it with a towering turret called solitude.
6 The ache seeks company The pain does not like solitude
7 Alone beneath the firmament meanders the path that I walk
8 Come, sit by me, and I shall tell you all my sorrows; we shall talk to each other about secrets.
9 Tonight, nothing, nothing has occurred, but somethign yet takes place.
10 I walk on sun, I stand in sun. I know of nothing other than sun.
11 The heart must grow from dreams, or it is a wretched heart.
12 No, no you, not I, now just the one Tonight, tomorrow and in a thousand years.
13 Do not fear the darkness for in it rests the light.
14 Till hatred only you breathe...
15 It shall arrive, this moment, This chilling minute...
16 The young king Lily of the Valley, king Lily of the Valley whit as snow, he mourns his maiden lily, his Princess Lily of the Valley.
17 There is only absence here, sitting, of a person departed long ago, leaning lightly onto the armrests surrounded by night.
18 Who plays is the night about you and me On a flute, a little silver flute? Our love is dead, When did I speak to you. - A flute, a little silver flute.
19 For sorrow memory was given; if peace of mind is your demand, forget!
20 With you alone I spoke what no one else can guess. On never-ending roads you were my loneliness.
21 Tonight, you're invited to dance with the mist...
22 ...for the day is you, and the light is you, the sun is you, and the spirng is you, and the beautiful, beautiful, awaiting life is you!
23 ...but all in my life, like sunshine bright, and all that sank inot pain and might trembles tonight on a flood of light.
24 ...for nothing hurts like you.
25 Grief, its shadow in the room doesn't move with the sun doesn't become dusk as dusk begins to fall.
26 I whisper 'Yes' and 'Always', as I lie Waiting for thunder from a stony sky.
27 But then I want to be alone, rocked by the flood of light onto the peaceful rest, where there is neither wrong nor right.
28 Oh, how can I quiet my heart, That is tossed from north to south?
29 ...a light that is neither hope nor faith but love - a sign of triumph.
30 ...mysteriously deep in the moments when pure joy is us allowed.
31 Like a driven wave, Dashed by fierce winds on a rock, So am I: alone And crushed upon the shore, Remembering what has been.
32 ...now let me sing you gentle songs.
33 ...and he who gazes towards the stars will never again be quite alone.
34 Give a word or two and it's easy to go. All our meetings should be just so.
35 ...as the day breaks.
36 Let a good wind blow. Let white snow fall.
37 ...and all the beautiful, beautiful awaiting life is you.
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