Set on the bleak Southern Eastern coast of Norway in a small town this is a disturbing novel that tells the story of a poor though hardworking family of Else, her mother Dagny and her father Johann. The small town could be in any remote community in northern Europe.
The story captures the innocence of youth and the pain of growing from a teenage to an adult and the eagerness.
In 1974 Else is living with her religious mother, hardworking though abuse, alcoholic father and falls in love with the son of the richest man in the village. With the arrival of a travelling circus and her father’s action Else’s life changes forever and it is in 2009 that we learnt of the real consequences of his actions.
The writing is sparse and beautiful and gives the reader a real feeling of the scenery however it’s the scenes with the Pastor that are exceptional as you can feel the weight of his message on Else as he bellows from the pulpit. As the reader you are taken effortlessly between 1974 and 2009 as we learn more of Else and her life in 1974, her torment she experiences and her coming to terms with the consequences in 2009. This is an exceptional debut novel and one that I’d urge anyone to read.