It is hard to keep up a book blog when you are not reading very much, but fortunately there have been some gems among the the few books I have read during the last few months.
Winter’s child by Dea Trier Mørch
Dea Trier Mørch is the author of one of my favourite novels, Kastaniealleen, which I don’t think have been translated into English, but this was my first read of her most famous work. Winter’s child is set in a maternity ward in Copenhagen during the 1970s. As I’ve understood it Mørch got frustrated by the lack of realistic descriptions of pregnancies and labour in art and literature, and wrote the novel to fill that void. I believe that she was successful, by framing it as a collective novel, although we do get to follow some characters closer than others, she is able to cover a wide range of experiences. Of course this also means that not every storyline has a happy ending, but overall I found it to be a warm and optimistic read, and I did like it very much. A few aspects in the writing and story seemed dated, e.g. I doubt wine is served in modern Danish maternity wards, and the author’s socialist leanings makes it slightly dogmatic in some places, but that slightly dated aspect that also helped soften some of the sadder outcomes. The novel is illustrated by the author’s own prints.
The housekeeper and the professor by Yoko Ogawa
Very different from the previous novel, but another really good read, The housekeeper and the professor is a quiet and sweet story about the friendship between a professor who has lost his ability to form new long-term memories, his housekeeper, and her son. As a former professor in mathematics numbers are one of the few things that remain constant in the professor’s life, something he can rely on when his memories are always lost, and numbers and mathematical theories form a large part of the communication between the three. I have read novels with a mathematical theme before, and despite loving mathematics I rarely think that they work, but this one I really enjoyed.