A Summer of Drowning
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A terrifying and dream-like new novel from one of our greatest contemporary writers.
At a critical point in her career, painter Angelika Rossdal suddenly moves to Kvaloya, a small island deep in the Arctic Circle, to dedicate herself to the solitary pursuit of her craft. With her, she brings her young daughter, Liv, who grows up isolated and unable or unwilling to make friends her own age, spending much of her time alone, or with an elderly neighbour, Kyrre Jonsson, who beguiles her with old folk tales and stories about trolls, mermaids and -- crucially for the events that unfold in the summer of her eighteenth year -- about the huldra, a wild spirit who appears in the form of an irresistibly beautiful girl, to lure young men to their doom.
Now twenty-eight, Liv looks back on her life and particularly to that summer when two boys drowned under mysterious circumstances in the still moonlit waters off the shores of Kvaloya. Were the deaths accidental, or were the boys, as Kyrre believes, lured to their deaths by a malevolent spirit? To begin with, Liv dismisses the old man's stories as fantasy, but as the summer continues and events take an even darker turn, she comes to believe that something supernatural is happening on the island. But is it? Or is Liv, a lonely girl who has spent her entire life in the shadow of her beautiful, gifted mother, slowly beginning to lose touch with reality?
Set in the white nights of an Arctic summer, the novel has the heightened, hallucinogenic atmosphere of a dream, but culminates in a moment of profound horror. Intensely imagined and exquisitely written, A Summer of Drowning is a play of dark and light, of looking and seeing, that will hold and haunt every reader.
From the Hardcover edition.
is modelled on me, just as it never seems to have occurred to her that I might be troubled by it – and the fact is, I’m not. Not really. Once upon a time, I had mixed feelings about that picture; now, I barely give it a second glance as I enter or leave my room or when I settle into the old elmwood chair that Mother bought especially for this spot on the landing. Here, on certain days, I can look out over the meadows to the waters of Malangen beyond and think I am quite alone in the world. When
it was never finished and, as far I knew, she did no more work on it. It was the last portrait she did – or rather, the last she did before that summer, when she painted the huldra in a few hurried sittings – and it remained in her studio for months, locked away in a cupboard to which she had the only key. For a while, I wondered what had gone wrong, assuming I was to blame somehow, but she didn’t seem to give it a second thought and, by the end of that long-ago summer, I had pretty much
is a cliché and, because it has chaos at its heart, it was always Kyrre’s favourite, the darkest and the best, the one he told most often and with the greatest relish. It was also the most typical. For if Kyrre’s stories had one thing in common, it was this: no matter what form we give it, or how elaborately it is contrived, order is an illusion and, eventually, something will emerge from the background noise and the shadows and upset everything we are so determined to believe in. Or that’s how
conversation had to do with his garden, or with some new plant he’d acquired from a friend who worked at the university. ‘Even on a fine day, the currents are treacherous. Everybody knows that.’ ‘But what on earth was he doing out there in the middle of the night?’ Mother put in softly, to keep the peace. ‘In a stolen boat? All by himself?’ I could see her in my mind’s eye, looking around at the assembled company, the perfect hostess from eleven till two, when they would all leave, almost
sad leftover from an age when, in all seriousness, people here would gather around a fire and recite tales of the huldra, who came out of the earth or the sea tides in the form of an unbearably beautiful woman in a red dress to claim any unwary man she chanced upon. Or they would frighten the children with stories that seemed almost true, stories about the fisherman far at sea who finds a baby in his nets and brings it aboard, still living, its eyes a dark mica glitter, its voice so beguiling