I love getting books for Christmas. I've had quite a few this year including lots by Scandinavian authors including:
Tales of Protection by Erik Fosnes Hansen. The blurb begins: "Bolt has died and lies in his coffin reflecting on the past," which is rather a winning opening. "From nineteenth-century Sweden to Renaissance Italy, Hansen weaves together exquisite stories in a searching and impressive enquiry into why things happen the way they do."
The buyer of the these presents (Mr Juxtabook) must give credit where it is due. He read an excellent over-view of Scandinavian literature on the blog of Danish novelist Peter H. Fogtdal. Peter says of Tales of Protection:
One of my all time favorite novels. Great storytelling, a masterpiece with four stories that take place during four different time periods and come together in strange ways. Visit Italy during the Renaissance, a small Swedish island in the 19th Century, and Norway and Africa in the 1900s. An unforgettable book that asks a simple question. Why do things happen the way they do? Is there a scientific pattern, a protective God, what?
Also from Peter's recommendations came:
The Visit of the Royal Physician by Per Olov Enquist. It looks like an intriguing piece of historical fiction: "When Christian VII, young, mad and highly impressionable, assumes the Danish throne, many seek to control the new king, capitalising on his mental frailty to advance their own interests." When adding this volume to his list of recommendations peter notes:
You will be hard pressed to find many historical novels as good as this. It takes place in 18th century Denmark where a German doctor comes to Copenhagen and ends up ruling the country instead of the mad king. It's a beautiful love story, too.
The last one, for today at any rate, was apparently purchased after the review by Gaskella:
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Of this book Gaskella notes that she,
found something truly dark and horrific that needed a strong stomach and nerves of steel. It is a real contemporary chiller, full of violence and gore, totally relentless - yet at its heart is a the redemptive relationship between a twelve year old boy and a 200 year old vampire frozen into the body of a young girl.
And after my Twilight fest earlier in the year it seems a good idea to take anther bite of vampire fiction.
I love blogs. I have never bought nor been bought so many new books as I have recently and it is bloggers and twitterers who tempt me (or cause me to drop massive hints to my nearest and dearest). So thank you to Peter H. Fogtdal and Gaskella for their enthusiastic reviews. Happy reading to us all in 2010!