To Mervas by Elisabeth RynellTo Mervas by Elisabeth Rynell

To Mervas

byElisabeth RynellTranslated byVictoria Haggblom

Paperback | May 28, 2010

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To Mervas is a turbulent journey through the wilderness of memory, domestic violence, and the vast gulf between lost lovers. After years of insulating herself from humanity in the wake of her disabled son’s death, Marta is jolted out of exile when a cryptic note arrives from Mervas, a ghost town deep in Sweden’s desolate northern wilds. The letter is from Kosti, her once-great love, shattering a silence of more than twenty years. When spring comes she sets off alone for Mervas, without any notion of who or what might await her there. Physical and emotional abuse, longing and loss, and the nature of love and redemption are explored with remarkable empathy and a visceral lyricism in Elizabeth Rynell’s stirring novel.
Elisabeth Rynell, born in Stockholm, is a poet and a novelist. Her works include the poetry volumes Night Conversations, Sorrow Winged Songs, Desert Wanderer, and the novels A Tale of Loka and Hohaj. To Mervas was a finalist for the August Strindberg Prize and is her first novel to appear in English.Victoria Häggblom is a writer and a ...
Title:To MervasFormat:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 7 × 6 × 0.61 inPublished:May 28, 2010Publisher:Steerforth PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0981987370

ISBN - 13:9780981987378

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Read from the Book

November 7 A letter came. Just a few lines, jotted down on a piece of copy paper. Marta, Mart! I’m in Mervas. It’s not possible to get any farther away. And no closer either. Your Kosti. That’s all it said. And he hadn’t been in touch for over twenty years. Not that I’ve been counting the years; I stopped doing that a long time ago. But now he’d sent me this message and it was like being filled with air, like being hit in the face by a gale so strong it made me gasp for breath. I read the letter again and again. My first thought was that it was fake, that someone wanted to taunt me. But who would want to do that? I have no friends; there’s no one who would know that such a cryptic little note would weigh on me. No one, except perhaps Kosti himself. And now he had written it. A faint cry from one end of life to the other, a cry straight through the years. And from Mervas. What kind of place was Mervas? I wept. A sadness so vast washed over me I wasn’t sure I’d be able to contain it. In some ways, it was myself that I mourned. I mourned my own life; it was as if I’d been invited to my own funeral and now stood above the coffin, where everything had been completed and settled, where for the first time my life could be looked upon as something finished and concluded, and there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that could be added to it. And I cried over everything that was lost, everything that had gone wrong and been led astray. My tears were unnaturally hot, they ran down my neck and onto my chest and I felt their entire path, felt how hot they were, strangely, remarkably hot, as if there’d been boiling, volcanic wells hidden inside me, and now they were overflowing through my eyes. To keep from falling to pieces, I started pacing. I covered every room. The small, dismal apartment became a dreamscape. My tears made everything blurry, almost blotted things out, and in this intense and charged absence, I reached for objects like a blind person. I used my fingertips to see, my eyes were elsewhere. I must have plodded for hours. The entire time, I thought I would implode from sadness, that I would break like a clay vessel in pressured heat. I touched potted plants, rocks, books, furniture, and lamp shades. It grew darker in the rooms, I could sense the gloam through my skin.

Editorial Reviews

A wrenching tale by Swedish novelist and poet Rynell traces a woman’s personal journey through shame and violence . . . Rynell proves a fearless writer in this emotionally relentless work and finds a lyrical grace in Marta’s self-awareness. —Publishers Weekly Not a single false note rings in this sonata in minor. —Swedish Daily News Elisabeth Rynell’s language can only be described as breathtakingly beautiful. —Uppsala Daily News Rynell is one of Sweden’s most intense and intensely appreciated storytellers in prose and verse. She never wastes words. —Rika Lesser