Title: The Memory of Love
Author: Linda Olsson
Publication Date: February 26, 2013 (first published in Swedish in 2011)
Source: copy received from the publisher for an honest review
Summary from Goodreads:
Marion Flint, in her early fifties, has spent fifteen years living a quiet life on the rugged coast of New Zealand, a life that allows the door to her past to remain firmly shut. But a chance meeting with a young boy, Ika, and her desire to help him force Marion to open the Pandora’s box of her memory. Seized by a sudden urgency to make sense of her past, she examines each image one-by-one: her grandfather, her mother, her brother, her lover. Perhaps if she can create order from the chaos, her memories will be easier to carry. Perhaps she’ll be able to find forgiveness for the little girl that was her. For the young woman she had been. For the people she left behind.
Olsson expertly interweaves scenes from Marion’s past with her quest to save Ika from his own tragic childhood, and renders with reflective tenderness the fragility of memory and the healing power of the heart.
I love a book that I go into with no expectations, and it ends up being a pleasant surprise. I *think* I received this book ages ago from the publisher when it was first released in English, and I just never got a chance to review it at the time. It sat forlornly on my shelf until it got picked in the TBR Book Baggie. It seemed fairly short, so I gave it a go...and what a gem I found!
The two stories within this novel (of Marion's childhood and Marion's present-day issues with a young boy that she's taken under her wing) are woven together beautifully. As you learn more about Marion's past, the way she chooses to deal with her present makes more and more sense. And her past is quite shocking--the slow buildup to the climax of her childhood trauma made me want to devour the entire book in one sitting. All of this is highlighted by the fabulous writing, which is lyrical and poetic without coming off as too flowery.
The fact that this isn't a terribly long review shouldn't be a reflection on the quality of the book, as it may be one of my top reads of 2014. It's a smaller book in size, but it packs a big punch with complex characters, surprising twists, and intriguing relationships. Someone order me Linda Olsson's backlist, STAT.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville!
Yup...I'm a little intimidated.