Because Venus Crossed an Alpine Violet on the Day That I Was Born
"In a way, the language is the protagonist in this book. It is luminous and vibrant, full of associations, reflections and quotes. The words embrace the world with sensuality, humour, wonder and a confusion of feelings."
In a hotel, high up in a mountain village, two sisters aim to reconnect after distant years that contrast their close, almost twin-like upbringing. Martha has just been discharged from a sanatorium after a mental breakdown. Ella agrees to keep her company in the hope that the clean winter air will provide clarity—and a way back to their childhood connection.
It's only when plans go awry, and Martha disappears in a rage, that Ella discovers a new sense of self outside her filial role. This identity is reinforced by various encounters: the hotel receptionist who takes her under her wing; the enigmatic love interest; the wistful, drunken Salvation Army soldier; the carpenter. And not least, Ella's encounter with the writings of Stefan Zweig, which have a profound impact.
Winner of the Critics' Prize 2018 and shortlisted for the Booksellers' Prize 2018, Mona Høvring's work is as sharp as it sensitive; insightful as it is original when exploring the many distractions of the heart.
Translated from the original Norwegian by Kari Dickson & Rachel Rankin.