This superb portrait
of three generations of Swedish women traces the resonance of the dim past through the decades. From Hanna, a Dalsland farmchild and servant in late 19th-century, to her sophisticated Gothenberg grandaughter Anna, we trace the quiet connections that define a family. Tumultuous events, rape and revolution, play their part, but so too do the little details of character -- a weakness for amusing young men, a cheerful acceptance of hard work -- that join mother to daughter and that distinguish a clan from its neighbors. Aside from an occasional jarring thump, Joan Tate's translation does its best with tricky regional nuance. I especially enjoyed this because my wife is Swedish, but it's fascinating to see what has become a familiar Jewish-American genre (see
Mona in the Promised Land
) played in a Scandinavian key.