Synopses & Reviews
Every summer Isak Lovenstad gathers his three daughters by different wives to the windswept Baltic island of Hammarso. Here Erika, Laura, and Molly know, if only for the season, what it is to be a family, and here, in the society of children, each undergoes the rites of growing up. Though many alliances form and dissolve, none compares to Erika's bond with the rebellious misfit Ragnar, the intensity of which makes them inseparable. But when they reach the age of fourteen and their relationship threatens to relegate Erika to Ragnar's outcast state, she suddenly turns away — a common enough teenage betrayal that nonetheless precipitates an incident of such senseless cruelty as to forever alter Isak's family. Twenty-five years later, returning to Hammarso to see their father — now eighty, a bereaved widower, and in year-round exile there — the three women confront, finally, the specter of that awful summer, the mark of which each has since carried.
Bold and starkly beautiful, A Blessed Child is a haunting parable of innocence lost.
"Amid summering tourists on the tiny Swedish island of Hammars, a blended multinational family comes together in this arresting and well-observed saga from Ullmann (Grace). Isak, a professor prone to fits of rage, has a loving second wife in Rosa and three daughters by three different women. The eldest, Erika, 13, and the youngest, Molly, five, are flown to Sweden in the summer by their mothers to spend some time with their brilliant, and infuriating father. Middle girl Laura, Rosa's daughter, welcomes them; together, the girls apprehend terror in Isak's irrepressible fits and, tragically, in Ragnar, a local boy Erika's age who doesn't fit in. The narrative moves back and forth in time, as the three daughters converge 25 years later on Hammars to visit their aging father, now mourning the loss of Rosa. In adulthood, each woman possesses a profound inner life haunted by buried childhood memory. While the book's tonal coolness won't be for everyone, the observations of teen life are exceptional, and Ullmann (daughter of Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann) successfully mines the traumas of youth for powerful adult emotions." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the internationally acclaimed author of Stella Descending and Grace comes a captivating story of sisterhood and the inescapable chords of childhood memory.
From the internationally acclaimed author of Stella Descending and Grace, a captivating story of sisterhood and of the inescapable chords of childhood memory.
About the Author
Linn Ullmann is a graduate of New York University, where she studied English literature and began work on a Ph.D. She returned to her native Oslo in 1990 to pursue a career in journalism. A prominent literary critic, she also writes a column for Norway's leading morning newspaper and has published four novels. She lives in Oslo.