I have to admit, I am hung up on Cecilia Ekbäck‘s Wolf Winter. It’s well written and engaging, but my goodness, the violent (yet necessary) detail is tough for me to stomach. Truth be told, I have not read much Noir- and never Nordic Noir, which seems so popular today.
The atmosphere is bleak and stark like the frozen ground on which the story is set. The writing is sparse and crisp, beautifully descriptive through both actions and words–reminding me a little of Julie Rose’s Oleanna in that way. It’s those gory details that I don’t think I can continue with, due to my sensitive nature I suppose. I am almost halfway through the book, and I FEEL the mental pain emanating from the characters’ hearts, which is actually the sign of an excellent novel. It is potent, disturbing, and definitely off the beaten path. A story of a Finnish family trying to survive the wilderness of Sweden’s Lapland in the early 18th century- I’m not sure how much more off-the-path you can get!
Please bear in mind that I’ve only read 175 pages of this 375 pg book. I cannot fully and authoritatively comment on it. This is not a review, this is a personal opinion and explanation. If I had a stronger tolerance for the disturbing detail, I would have continued on. I guess I should stay away from Nordic Noir thrillers in the future…
Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck, Weinstein Publishing, forthcoming 1/2015, 376 pp, $26.00, hb, 9781602862524
Note: The cover image is from the 2014 UK publication of the novel.
Hi Andrea, I felt the same recently when I was trying to read Hannah Kent’s beautifully written Burning Rites. The writing was excellent but it was simply too bleak and too dark – I couldn’t stay in the world and had to put it down. It’s always bittersweet to get that far and put down a book, though. . .
Thank you for your comment! It is not in my nature to put down a book before it’s done, either, and I hated doing it. I have Burial Rites waiting, but I’m going to think twice at this point : )