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A Blessed Child

by Linn Ullmann

Half sisters Erika, Laura and Molly spent every summer with their father on the Swedish island Hammarso, until one summer something terrible happened. Strands of childhood innocence and childish cruelty pull against one another, but the writing is so beautiful that even a blow reads like a kiss.

Extract

Erika had known Isak would come to this decision, of course. All that long winter she had known. How could they stay in that house again as if nothing had happened? How could she possibly go there again? How could he? How could Laura and Molly? How could Rosa, who had sat in complete silence beneath the blue lamp in the kitchen in the white limestone house, go back there? To Hammarso. To the heaths and beaches and poppies and the bluish-gray sea she had once heard a grown-up man call the Frog Sea. The man intended it in a derogatory way. But Erika liked the idea of her and Ragnar's sea being a frog sea: silent and strange and alive and shadow until it was suddenly deep and ominous. A frog, Ragnar had said, can go slack and play dead for several minutes if he's attacked.
Translated by Sarah Death

Parallels

Moon Island by Rosie Thomas
 

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