Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck

Imagine living in the darkest of places. Imagine that the only people for miles are people you don't know, yet. The character Maija moves to a small settlement in Lappland, Sweden, with her family and they are just beginning to get to know the people in the area when a murder is commited. Then, Maija's husband has to leave for the coust to find work, leaving her and their two children alone.

Sweden is a spectacular, mesmerizing country. In the summer, the midnight sun lights both day and night, painting the beautiful nature in more vivid colours than the brightest fairytale. The grass and wild forests are intensely green, the sea is dark blue and the air is crisp and the sun warms it all. In the winter, the sun hardly reaches above the horizon. There is constant darkness, apart from a short while at noon. The snow falls heavy and everything is white, a contrast to the black sky and the colorful, dansing northen light.

Ekbäck's descriptions of the landscape and forces of nature are very colourful. It's not a traditional fast-paced crime novel, at all. The book is slow at times but is necessary to deal with tensions and feelings as well as an atmosphere of superstition and the supernatural, and for them to give an impression. The exterior reflects the characters' isolation and inner struggle. The book gets more and more interesting because of the portrayal of 18th century Sweden. How difficult it must have been for a lonely woman to fight for her family's survival. 

Ekbäck wanted to write about an interesting time period. Superstition and the belief in the supernatural remained to some extent from an early period. The people living around Svartåsen fear the powers of the mountain, thinking it can breath and make horrible things happen. What's more, in the year of 1717, the wound was still fresh from the witch hunts, and people's fear still remained, it seems - a faith that wasn't as strong as the church, but still a belief. The author uses this theme. Was it some kind of comfort believing in these things, when the situation was so bad? The early 18th century changed the very foundation of life for the people. Sweden was at war and men were forced to leave their families to fight for their country. According to the author, around a third of the population – 1,5 million people – were killed. The king raised the taxes to be able to finance the war, the plague hunted people, and as if that wasn't enough, some years of bad harvest made the people starve. In this situation, Maija is left alone with her children in the middle of nowhere, in the darkness, near a few farms and a secret. She begins to investigate the murder and soon realizes that it's not the only strange thing. The secret might be covering more than the murder mystery.

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