Title: Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs
Writer: Linda Olsson
Publishing House: Penguin
Date of Publication: August 26th 2005
Rating: 5 stars
”July 1942, Vastra Sangeby, Dalarna, Sweden
When the sun dipped behind the wall of trees, we lay down and the white night swallowed us. It has been night ever since.”
Two women find each other in the middle of nowhere, in the heart of the Swedish countryside as spring turns to summer. Divided by age but united in sorrow, Veronika and Astrud begin to unburden their souls as the midnight sun paints Nature in luminous, tender colours until winter comes again, signalling a new beginning.
‘’The grey weather prevailed. It was as if time stood still. It didn’t snow, but nor was there any sun. Invisible crows cowed in an otherwise silent world.’’
The countryside provides the ideal scenery for Olsson’s story to unfold. The unpredictable weather, the silence, the nightly sky, the moose and the owls, the firs and the paths, the sun reflecting its healing rays across the open fields. It is as if Mother Nature is standing still, waiting for the words that need to be spoken and heard. The confessions, the pain of the past, the doubts of the future. As the birch trees murmur to each other, the two women of Olsson’s beautiful tale start shaking old feathers.
‘’Kom, satt dig ned till mig, jag skall beratta dig om mina sorger, vi skola tala med varandra om hemlighteter.
Come, sit by me, and I shall tell you all my sorrows; we shall talk to each other about secrets.’’
We experience early spring days and nights. Serene summer evenings. Uncertain autumn afternoons. The bitter cold of winter. We are witnesses of confessions about motherhood and womanhood. About loneliness and voluntary isolation, about dreams born and thwarted. About Life’s cruel tendency to alter everything in the blink of an eye when we’re left alone to pick up the broken pieces. And the silence of the Swedish summer makes their words travel far, entering our hearts.
”Limu, limu lima
Dear God let the sun shine
over mountains so blue
over maidens so small
who wander the woods
Astrid commits a shocking act that goes against everything that is sacred. Veronika experiences a terrible loss at a time when life seemed an eternal summer. The two women have looked upon the terrible face of Death and their world has fallen apart. However, the power of companionship, the instinct of the human soul to survive and the relationship between the Person and Nature have the power to heal the wounds. When winter arrives, it carries the promise of a clean start.
And this novel will give you the strength to go on in the darkest of times…
‘’…for the day is you,
and the light is you,
the sun is you,
and all the beautiful, beautiful
awaiting life is you.’’