Sunday Salon: Review of Shadow, by Karin Alvtegen

TSSbadge3 "One often reads the word "unputdownable" to describe a book – it is certainly a true description of this one. As the novel reaches its climax, I was on the edge of my seat, my heart was pounding, and by the end I felt wrecked. It has strong parallels with Wuthering Heights, in which two "normal" people (Gerda as Nelly Dean and Marianne as Lockwood) are the filter through which the reader experiences elemental, horrifically tragic and passionate events that are beyond the witness-narrators' comprehension."

I wrote these words as part of my Euro Crime review of Shadow, the new book by Karin Alvtegen, which is a magnificent novel. As well as the Wuthering Heights analogy, I was also struck by the name of the 92-year-old woman whose death starts the long process of thawing out the frozen wastes of the past. Her name is Gerda, which is the same name as the loyal girl whose long journey is to melt the spliter of ice put into her friend Kay's heart by the evil Snow Queen. Karin Alvtegen's story is no fairy tale, however.

As I read the novel, I was impressed by the translation, by someone I did not think I had heard of before, McKinley Burnett.  It turns out, however, that I have heard of him – and so, probably, have you. Thank you, Reg, for bringing this superb author to English language eyes (a few hints about translators' names in the comments here).

My Euro Crime review of Shadow.

Kimbofo of Reading Matters reviews Shadow.

Crimefictionreader of It's a Crime! reviews Shadow.

3 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Review of Shadow, by Karin Alvtegen

  1. This sounds so good! Another great review (just come from CFR’s). You’ve convinced me I should read it. I just wish my TBR pile wasn’t so high.

  2. Maxine, I just wrote a little something about your review of Karin Altegen’s book and attendant matters chez Karen. One thing I forgot to mention there is Alvtegen’s website. Authors’ own sites are often helpful just in giving some idea of whence they come, but in this case I would very much recommend that people approaching Altegen’s books read her biography on that site. It takes courage to write as she does of her own psychological problems following the death of her brother, and she does so with a sincerity and simple openness I found touching. There is no self-promotion in it. We have an epidemic these days of ‘celebrities’ flogging books by broadcasting the woeful events of their lives to my totally uncaring self, but what Karin has to tell us is in a different class entirely, and it tells how she came to write, not necessarily how she came to write as she does, and that is very intriguing indeed. As I said on Euro Crime, I’m hugely pleased at the attention now coming her way — including a nomination for a Edgar!

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