Astrid And Veronika by Linda OlssonAstrid And Veronika by Linda Olsson

Astrid And Veronika

byLinda Olsson

Paperback | February 6, 2007

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With extraordinary emotional power, Linda Olsson’s stunningly well-crafted debut novel recounts the unusual and unexpected friendship that develops between two women. Veronika, a young writer from New Zealand, rents a house in a small Swedish village as she tries to come to terms with a recent tragedy while also finishing a novel. Her arrival is silently observed by Astrid, an older, reclusive neighbor who slowly becomes a presence in Veronika’s life, offering comfort in the form of companionship and lovingly prepared home-cooked meals. Set against a haunting Swedish landscape, Astrid & Veronika is a lyrical and meditative novel of love and loss, and a story that will remain with readers long after the characters’ secrets are revealed.
Linda Olsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2003, she won the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition. Linda has lived in Kenya, Singapore, Britain, and Japan before settling in Auckland, New Zealand, where she lives today. Her previous novel, Astrid & Veronika, was published in 2007.
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Title:Astrid And VeronikaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.72 × 5.05 × 0.52 inPublished:February 6, 2007Publisher:Penguin UK (PB)Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143038079

ISBN - 13:9780143038078

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Refreshing This book is a gem! It chronicles the lives to two women who would rather seclude themselves from the world than to be answerable to it because of their pain. However, as life typically plays out, they do befriend each other and develop a friendship that is able to hold their secrets and their longings. The beginning of each chapter contains a poem which makes it both unique and endearing. A definite re-read.
Date published: 2018-03-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A little dull This book was slow and boring. Really did not enjoy reading it.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Female friendship: the non-cliched version I finished my first book since January, Tuesday, after beginning it on Monday... I just couldn't put it down. Astrid & Veronika was Linda Olsson's first-ever book and the nearly-spot-on review from the New York Times can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/books/review/Harleman.t.html?_r=0 Personally, while I've read some pretty awful reviews of this book, some of which make valid points both here and on other book-loving websites around the 'net, I loved Astrid & Veronika. In places, Olsson's new-ness at this writing novels thing definitely shows--who but a first timer would describe summer nights in London thusly: "warm, like velvety tepid water."--overall, Olsson writes a powerful story of loss and female friendship, which is a refreshing change for lovers of fiction who are so over genre fiction, Elin Hildebrand and those in her ilk. If this book the Hollywood treatment, Vanessa Redgrave would be beyond perfect as Astrid, in fact, while I was reading I envisaged VR as Astrid the entire time from the first moment we meet her peeking out through her curtains at unwelcome newcomer Veronika. If I could change one thing about this novel, it would be the end. While I wasn't happy with the idea that Veronika may just go back to her life after her year in seclusion with Astrid, and forget Astrid, I also wasn't terribly happy with the end Olsson chose for them, although I do see a bit of beauty in it, now, a few days after finishing. Astrid & Veronika would make an excellent addition to any woman's bookshelf, but is especially of interest to those looking to read about female friendship.
Date published: 2013-05-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Say What? I don't know what people are talking about, because this book was terrible. I didn't care and it was very dull. Had it been longer, I don't think I would have finished it. I really wanted to like it, but it was just so boring.
Date published: 2010-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Novel of the Year A stunning portrait of two women who has to overcome such grief, find happiness and learn to love all over...lovely, emotional and a must read for anyone.
Date published: 2008-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Soulquenching.... From page 1 to the very end, the writer propels you to experience intense joy, sadness, heartache, bliss. I can't remember any other book that made me smile or cry so openly in public (like the subway). The journey of friendship between two amazing characters is one that we can envy but also feel 'warm & fuzzy' that it can be possible in this life to share such love, beauty and understanding with another who, not necessarily, becomes your lovemate or partner in life but yet does remain a significant companion to the very end.
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Soulquenching.... From page 1 to the very end, the writer propels you to experience intense joy, sadness, heartache, bliss. I can't remember any other book that made me smile or cry so openly in public (like the subway). The journey of friendship between two amazing characters is one that we can envy but also feel 'warm & fuzzy' that it can be possible in this life to share such love, beauty and understanding with another who, not necessarily, becomes your lovemate or partner in life but yet does remain a significant companion to the very end.
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great surprise... What a wonderful surprise! I didn't expect this book to be as good as it was, and I really enjoyed it. I found it moving, insightful, tender, and really quite wonderful. Jann Arden described this book as "lonely and lovely" and I couldn't agree more!
Date published: 2007-06-20

Bookclub Guide

1. Astrid has been solitary for so long. Why, then, do you think she is drawn to Veronika, essentially a stranger, and then later allows herself to open up to her so freely? 2. The houses in the novel serve almost as characters. The author describes Astrid’s house as “Dark and warm. . . . It was an organic part of her and its shapes were ingrained in her body” (p. 9). Discuss how the author uses the houses in the novel. What is the importance of a home in our lives? How does our house/living space define us? What do you think your house/living space says about you?3. Astrid’s mother committed suicide when Astrid was six yearsold; Veronika’s mother left when Veronika was a child. Talk about the theme of the “absent mother” and how it influences these characters’ lives. 4. What did you think of Astrid’s confession regarding the death of her child? Were you able to understand her actions? Did knowing this about her past affect the way you felt about her? What do you think Astrid expected Veronika’s reaction would be to her story? Was Astrid taking a risk in telling her? Whydo you think Veronika reacts in the way she does?5. Veronika feels very guilty about the death of her fiancé and agonizes over what she could have done differently that day to prevent his death. Why do you think she feels so guilty? 6. After her husband dies, Astrid says to Veronika, “There was nothing more to be afraid of. . . . Because it was never about him. It was about me” (p. 167). What does she mean?7. When Astrid tries on the floral swimsuit during Veronika’s birthday “outing,” the women burst out into laughter (p. 185). Why do the women find this moment so hysterically funny? How does this day, Veronika’s birthday, serve as a turning point in the novel? 8. Veronika visits her father after her fiancé’s death, and when she is leaving her father begins to say, “I wish . . .” but doesn’t complete the sentence (p. 200). What do you think he was going to say? How would you describe Veronika’s relationship with him?9. Great literary novels skillfully incorporate sometimes elaborate symbolism. In Astrid & Veronika, Olsson makes repeated and significant references to water. Discuss the symbolic function of water in the novel and consider how water may be connected with Olsson’s major themes.10. Discuss how the seasons shape the novel. How do the seasons influence the characters? Discuss the ways that the seasons affect you throughout the year. Are your memories connected to the seasons in which they took place? 11. In her letter to Veronika, Astrid mentions “the love of my life” (p. 242). Whom do you think she is talking about?

Editorial Reviews

"Natural and vivid, utterly convincing... simply so beguiling."—The New York Times"Readers of Anne Tyler and Jodi Picoult will appreciate the lyrical prose and expert rendering of the themes of heartbreakk and loss."—Booklist"Has the hallmarks of an Ingmar Bergman film... a chilly Scandinavian setting leavened by rich observations of nature, and characters whose prim, polite facades eventually disappear, exposing years of anger and hurt."—Kirkus Reviews"Linda Olsson evokes, with great beauty and precision, the landscape of a friendship between two very different women, each caught in a tragic moment from the past. Their connection, initially as tentative and fragile as the first filaments of ice, gradually strengthens, allowing each woman to give voice to her stories, and in doing so to reclaim 'a heart for beauty.' Subtle, penetrating, and beautifully written, Astrid and Veronika affirms the power of narrative to transform."—Kim Edwards, New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter"Not only impossible to put down, but impossible to forget."—Canvas, New Zealand"Linda Olsson unravels . . . each woman’s story . . . gradually revealing their grief and loss. . . . This a subtle but powerful novel, tender and poignant."—The Dominion Post, New Zealand"Beautiful and deeply affecting. A dreamlike evocation of the power of friendship."—Mary McGarry Morris, author of Songs in Ordinary Time