Let me show you our current favorites: 11+1 not so well known, but awesome and unique instagram accounts. I’m officially addicted to them: they’ll inspire you @monthlymakers 12 bloggers, 12 months, 12 topics, 144 DIY projects. @dnilva tipsar om fantastiska saker att skapa till månadens […]
3 days has passed since I saw Captain America: Civil War and I still couldn’t decide whether I should share my opinion about it or not. It seems everyone just loves the movie and I feel like the idiot who didn’t get the joke. First of all: I’m […]
In today’s post I’ll show you another inspiring novel from Scandinavia: Dina’s Book by the best-selling Norwegian author Herbjørg Wassmo. When I was reading it, I just couldn’t put it down and was forced to go to work like a zombie afterwards. It made a huge impact on me: in some ways Dina could be a role model for me and all the insecure women of the world. On the other hand I was truly angry with the author after finishing the last page. She created an elegant masterpiece and than smashed it with a hammer.
Anyway, the book’s worth reading, so here comes my review of it. I hope you’ll like it. 🙂
The plot in 2 sentences
As a little girl, Dina causes the death of her beloved mother and has to cope with grief and guilt next to her father who isn’t able to forgive her. When she grows older, Dina shows everyone that women aren’t horses which can be tamed and treated like servants or brainless beings.
Why the book’s so special
Dina’s Book portays an uniquely smart and strong woman who is expected to obay the ridiculous rules of the mid-nineteenth century and that of the full-blown partiarchy ruling it. Despite of her unflexible environment Dina always finds a way to stay true to herself and to keep her power. At the end she is the one who tames the world – even if she has to pay the price for it.
This novel isn’t a typical tale of a strong and wild woman, who is admired by society. Because the main characters of most of these tales are women who are easy to like and smart, only a bit unapprehended. Dina is different. She doesn’t fit into categories made for women: she doesn’t like to read or dress pretty, entertain handsome men and please anyone. She doesn’t even want to be with her own son. She rather smokes cigarrs, or plays the cello, is a heavy drinker, likes to be alone and doesn’t talk for months if she doesn’t want to. Summerized: she dares to be herself, even if she has to be brutally cruel.
“I am Dina who sees the sleigh with the person on it headlong down the steep slope. At first I think I am the one lying there tied to the sleigh. Because I feel pain more terrible than any I have ever known. Through crystal-clear clarity, but beyond time and space, I am in touch with the face on the sleigh. Moments later, the sleigh crashes against an ice-covered rock.”
Dina’s Book is for you if
You are a women. (Please, be good to yourself, read and learn.) You’ll like Dina’s Book also if you love the special atmosphere of Scandinavian books, dramatic twists or if you have to deal with a difficult past or insecurities.
Oh, and one more thing: follow us on Bloglovin and never miss a post 😉
One of my favorite places on Earth is the area where Austria meets Germany: Salzburg, Bavaria, Tyrol – I love them all. Just can’t get enough of those magnificent mountains, peaceful forests and friendly people. Many say that Germans are cold, but every time I […]
The first thing you’ll notice about this Norwegian novel called The Half Brother is its thickness. It’s huge. Despite of the fact that I’m deeply in love with reading, I get scared from really thick books sometimes. To start reading something which has more than […]
Before we take this astonishing novel called The Land of Green Plums, I have to admit something first. When I started this blog, all I wanted to write about was food and books and maybe the lessons I learned in the past. But now more than 3 months have passed and I’ve never written a single line about books. The truth is, I’m afraid. I’ve always been in love with reading, it has been a mad, beautiful and unconditional love which has only evolved through the years. Every book was a journey, a whole new world. But when I wanted to describe this journey to anyone, I was short of words. No matter how hard I tried to express my feelings or experiences, it felt incomplete. It felt like a failure, even after several literature and writing classes at the university.
So now it’s time for me to face my demons and do a casual, no-fuss review about The Land of Green Plums, written by the Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller. And my plan is to publish a series of casual, no-fuss book reviews, taking one novel every week. Because it’s okay to be imperfect – on every level – and I have to work on accepting this fact.
Set in the darkest days of the post-World War II Romania, The Land of Green Plums shows its readers how it’s like to live in a hardcore communist dictatorship. Where no one trusted anyone, because one of two Romanians spied on their neighbors and friends, leaving the country was almost impossible and for those who didn’t lay low, Securitate, the secret police of Romania made their lives a hell.
In the story we can follow the life of four university students who start to come together to talk about a girl who committed suicide in their dormitory. These discussions are interpreted by the Securitate as a threat to the regime and the game begins where they cannot win. They are interrogated, followed and threatened by the police. Years go by, no heroic gestures are left over and slowly everyone betrays themselves – and each other as well. It’s clear that in this world the winner is who can either bend to the oppressors with an open heart or give it all up and die. The narrator manages to escape from the country, but she has to pay the price for it.
The Land of Green Plums and Incredible Language
However the story is gripping and exciting itself, it was the beautiful language which I fell for in the first place. Almost every sentence is like a poem dressed with riddles, the reader has to stop every once in a while just to be able to understand the meaning of every layer a paragraph can offer. While the words play a music on their own.
I’ve never experienced something like this before. Reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov gave me a similar feeling at first, but there the language was “simply” mesmerizing and seducing. In The Land of Green Plums it’s much more than that, in this novel the sentences are like paths to hidden worlds and we have to find out every time where they can lead us.
Let me show you some of my favorites:
“When we don’t speak, said Edgar, we become unbearable, and when we do, we make fools of ourselves.”
“We laughed a lot, to hide it from each other. But fear always finds an out. If you control your face, it slips into your voice. If you manage to keep a grip on your face and your voice, as if they were dead wood, it will slip out through your fingers. It will pass through your skin and lie there. You can see it lying around on objects close by.”
“Lola writes in her notebook: Leaf-fleas are even worse. Someone said, They don’t bite people, because people don’t have leaves. Lola writes, When the sun is beating down, they bite everything, even the wind. And we all have leaves. Leaves fall off when you stop growing, because childhood is all gone. And they grow back when you shrivel up, because love is all gone. Leaves spring up at will, writes Lola, just like tall grass. Two or three children in the village don’t have any leaves, and those have a big childhood. A child like that is an only child, because it has a father and a mother who have been to school. The leaf-fleas turn older children into younger ones – a four-year-old into a three-year-old, a three-year-old into a one-year-old. Even a six-months-old, writes Lola, and even a newborn. And the more little brothers and sisters the leaf-fleas make, the smaller the childhood becomes.”
“Today the grass listens when I speak of love. It seems to me that this word isn’t honest even with itself.”