Wolf Winter

Wolf WinterThe atmosphere of this novel is so dark, and foreboding, her writing so incredibly detailed I felt the cold, the hunger as the settlers face one of the coldest winters ever, and the fear as things are happening that are not easily understood It is easy to fall back on superstitions, cries of witchcraft and a return to the old ways The Swedish Lapland, not an easy place to live, hearty, hardworking people, tasked with survival and dictated to by their church Even here, politics are at play and things happen that cannot have a rational explanation Evil is said to rule this mountain area and though the Laplanders are said to have converted to Christianity, the settlers are still very distrustful and suspicious of this group of hardy nomads.Maija and her family come here and become involved in a situation seemingly without explanation Her and her two daughters will suffer greatly and her daughter Fredricka will form an alliance that some will call unholy, a lasting legacy.A wonderful winter read, and I loved reading about the culture and traditions of these group of early settlers to Lapland The churches influence and the political struggle But, ultimately the story is about Maija and daughters, the old ways and the suspicions of those ways Wonderfully written, with some very interesting characters A first book from an author I expect big things from.ARC from Netgalley. A being was either strong enough to hold their ground or they became small and bottomless and started feeding on themselves.This has been on my to read list for years, and I m very glad I finally got round to it I think what I loved most about this book is the author s descriptions of nature and weather Her anthropomorphism s of these elements helps to create a dark, eerie and suspenseful setting The characters were all complex and memorable I enjoyed all the twists and turns, and could never figure out who killed Eriksson The magical realism was well done and formed a natural part of the story What will stay with me for a long time is the difficulty of just surviving in this incredibly harsh environment I will be looking out for her second book being released this year.The Story It s 1717 in Swedish Lapland, winter is approaching and a new family of settlers has arrived on the bleak and beautiful Black sen mountain, hoping to hardscrabble a living from the unforgiving land When 14 year old newcomer Frederika stumbles on the mutilated body of a man in the forest, the locals are keen to blame wolves, but Frederika and her mother, the tough, resourceful Maija, are determined to get to the truth Although I am stingy with 5 star ratings, this one cannot be diminished to a 4 It s slow You ll require patience And you will need to be within 1717 and the bleakest period of Swedish small holdings and peasant existence And never forget that I warned you that the read will not be fun It occurs within what was known then as Lapland in general but on one dark mountain in Sweden, in particular Lapland encompassed Sweden, Finland, Norway and parts of Russia Peoples who are now called Sami as ethnic designation are then called Lapps The Lapps are nomadic and enter our homestead territory in Winter The homestead or towns population are in great majority from Scandinavian ancestry.There are no revisionist sensibilities in this novel Nothing but 1717 eyes or concepts There is no energy wasted on shedding tears Often within a starving horror that views a frost in late June Or with Plague returned And Sweden has been at war for 150 years The complexities of Lutheran Christianity and earlier Viking types of animism polytheism shamanism are sometimes clashing and at other times fermenting to accusations in common to reactions from surviving great evil Evil not only perceived, but that is revealed with full eyed evidence This is not an easy book to read Beyond the depth and complexity it also encompasses entry into spirit and psychic territories Yet beyond that there is also politico in which authority keeps coming from multiple directions which are all beyond knowing Or often disguised as a needed neighbor or workmate, known for years of their loving trust Mothers and daughters, Great Grandmother long gone but never closer it is their tales, as well It is also a tale of tremendous physical suffering and endurance.Those who cry easily when reading may want to pass this book by This is a world where humans live and do what they need to live Sometimes those ways don t parse with central heating sensitivities It s a world where childhood as we conceive of that period in life, much of that definition s nuance does not exist The first half of the book will little reveal to you the lyrical and sublime meshing within the last 2 parts As Frederika s skills expand, so does the poetic sting Soldiering, hearts and souls of loyalty or trust, class system intrigue, marriage mistrust they are all there too Not since Wolf Hall or Bring Up the Bodies have I read such a skilled look into a period of change But this one surpasses those, because it holds no king or highest agent at its central point but only the cognition of those servile individuals who hold those hearts and souls ultimate definitions within their own particular minds and spirits.This is not a feel good book It s a book you may remember after 30 other reads Now, I must go and shovel snow About 12 inches but I can easily open the door So simple compared to winter lodging with Maija and her girls I do NOT recommend this book to you as a murder mystery buff or one who likes action This is much closer to a think piece And how evil truly lurks and is in increments exposed. This was an interesting book, very typical of the Scandinavian style, cold, dark and atmospheric Very similar in many ways to Burial Rites which is up there in my most favourite books.Wolf Winter is not quite that good but it is still intriguing and very readable I was occasionally annoyed by the main character s neglect of her own children in her pursuit of justice, but then no one in this story was perfect The ending is ambiguous which I believe was the intention of the author As a glass half full person I am sure they all lived happily ever after Or as happy as anyone could be in that cold, cold place where there are months when the sun never shines at all. In Sweden, a wolf winter is a particularly long and brutal season, the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal mortal and alone Cecelia Ekb ck s atmospheric, tense and brooding debut, Wolf Winter, opens in high summer, but the discovery of a mutilated body augurs the dark season to come Multiple characters share point of view time, but it is Maija and her elder daughter Frederika whose grip on the story s reins steers the narrative Maija and her family have only just arrived from Finland to take over a dead relative s homestead when Frederika comes across the body of local man It s presumed he was slain by a pack of wolves, but the nature of wounds would suggest otherwise.Ekb ck pairs a murder mystery with finely crafted historical fiction Set in Swedish Lapland in 1717, Wolf Winter immerses the reader in an isolated collection of homesteads clinging to Black sen Mountain, as well as the politics of a monarchy on the edge of collapse She shows us the power granted to clergy in holding together communities strung out over vast terrain and the power of legend in feeding suspicion and fear Wolf Winter joins other northern latitude noir literary fiction, such as Stef Penny s The Tenderness of Wolves wolves , Eowyn Ivey s The Snow Child, David Vann s Caribou Island and Hannah Kent s Burial Rites, where frozen landscapes exact a dark tone, a ponderous pace, an otherworldly struggle for survival against elements both natural and abnormal The author set herself an enormous challenge for her debut a blend of genres that relies on tight control of pacing, yet demands a rich tapestry of detail and exposition There is a certain superfluity to some village scenes, a need to make certain the reader understands the distant political wranglings, but these are mild complaints set against a deliciously shivery tale rendered in gorgeous, pitch perfect prose After this impressive debut, I can t wait to see what she does next. The book synopsis of this crime mystery thriller set in the snowy Sweden Lapland in the year 1717 enticed me from the first time I read it..but am sad to say turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment Despite its slightly disjointed and very slow pace, it did have an undercurrent of creep factor that something evil was coming so I eagerly hung in there Unfortunately, as much as I tried to like it, I just could not connect to the characters or stay with it any longer.even withmy favorite the presence of view spoiler ghosts hide spoiler Wolf winter is now also used to describe the darkest of times in a human being s life the kind of period that imprints on you that you are mortal and, at the end of the day, always aloneAtmospheric, chilling, eerie So many words that could be used to describe this book but words that are ultimately inept at capturing this book Two books that were top reads for me in 2014 were The Snow Child and Burial Rites This book was like a combination of the two The frigid dark ofBurial Rites , but with the magic realism ofThe Snow ChildIt wasn t, therefore, a surprise to read in the author s notes at the end that the author is a fan of Hannah Kent and Eowyn Ivey This book also reminds me a little of The Miniaturist They are nothing alike in plot, setting, or anything else really The similarity for me is that blend of historical fiction with magic realism As withThe Miniaturistthis book will appeal to some and not others.What I loved, was the author s ability to so deftly build a picture of time and place, with no info dumping We all know how much I hate info dumping in historical fiction Do I have a full and complete understanding of Lappland at this time No But the book serves as an introduction, and introduced me to a lot of information I hadn t previously been aware ofAndthe book did it in a way that was entertaining That s a win for me.This book really impressed me The imagery, the savage brutality that made me wince, the barren and stark landscape, and the people struggling to survive in it I borrowed this from the library, but I m going to get my own copy plus I ve pre ordered the author s next book already Best read in weeks and weeks. There Are Six Homesteads On Black Sen MountainA Day S Journey Away Lies The Empty Town It Comes To Life Just Once, In Winter, When The Church Summons Her People Through The Snows Then, Even The Oldest Enemies Will GatherBut Now It Is Summer, And New Settlers Are ComeIt Is Their Two Young Daughters Who Find The Dead Man, Not Half An Hour S Walk From Their CottageThe Father Is Away And Whether Stubborn, Or Stupid, Or Scared For Her Girls, The Mother Will Not Let It RestTo The Wife Who Is Not Concerned When Her Husband Does Not Come Home For Three Days To The Man Who Laughs When He Hears His Brother Is Dead To The Priest Who Doesn T Care She Asks And Asks Her Questions,digging At The Secrets Of The MountainThey Say A Wolf Made Those Wounds But What Wild Animal Cuts A Body So Clean Set in 1717 in old Lapland, Wolf Winter is a nordic noir thriller that than delivered.A finnish family have settled in amongst other settlers on the old Blackasen Mountain, a harsh setting if ever there was one, where life is hard, winters are harder and a wolf winter comes around occasionally that tests the hardiest of souls Told with three different narratives, Maaja, the mother of the finnish family, Frederika, her teenage daughter and the priest A body is found, a murder has happened and the story essentially revolves around how and why intertwined with politics, religion, superstitions and fear It s goes along at a slow pace and normally I would struggle with that but here it s pitched perfect It s not a book to be devoured but a book where every word should be read and savoured Reading only 20 30 pages a night I felt I was reading at the pace of the book which made it all the enjoyable This is very much character driven with the three voices, all engrossing characters with redeeming qualities Frederika was the one I most felt for, Maaja, I admired her tenacity and drive to push through and the priest calling into question his faith and what is right It all just drifted along seamlessly like the snow, creating shivers and causing much burrowing under the duvet as that hard winter hit.I m surprised myself but there was really nothing I didn t like, from the characterisation to the descriptiveness to the supernatural elements Not once did I skim paragraphs or speed read a page And no one is surprised than I Even though I knew I wanted to read the book, I was wary of the supernatural ghostly elements Not usually my thing, but I needn t have worried.Wolf Winter is an evocative, atmospheric, haunting insight into how life was in 1717 Lapland, written in a beautiful and poetic way that had me totally under its spell Magical.A highly recommended 5 star read Enjoy Gripping Started out as a murder mystery set in 1717 Swedish Lapland Among a small group of homesteaders, an unpleasant man is murdered Enter Maija and her family emigrating from Finland she and an uncle have exchanged properties Besides the death, there are a mysterious forest fire, disappearance of several folks, including children The people interact with the local Sami Lapps A mountain seems to exert some kind of sinister pull on the people Supernatural incidences pile up as the novel progresses, becoming chilling Both Maija and daughter Frederika try to solve the mystery After an unexplained appearance, the girl is gradually drawn into the shamanistic belief system of the Sami Ostensibly Christian, they still cling to some of their old folkways Maija, her family, and the whole settlement fight the cruelest winter in living memory upon them There are red herrings aplenty and twists and turns When you think you have the story figured out, the author throws something completely unexpected your way Secrets abound and things are not always what they seem at first glance The writing was absolutely gorgeous I was amazed how the author could project such a dark, mysterious atmosphere full of foreboding and sense of dread I felt the bleakness of the landscape reflecting the bleakness of the characters was especially well done I really liked her writing of Maija s coping with the harsh winter and also, the final coming of SpringOn the river and lake the snow begins to open A spruce tree lets fall on the white below the seeds she has hidden in her cones.Underneath the snow, on the ground, there are things, things long thought dead flowers in knots, whole branches held in tight buds They start to tingle and stir In a clearing on the mountain s west side the snow moves It s being torn away from below A paw breaks through, and a litter of bear cubs peer out from their den There s a fluttering in the air It s the small creatures that dare to return tits and starlings They dart through the air, hoping to find last year s nests still intact The snow is leaving The mounds sink and settle, pour out and down It s already down to its first layers coarse and grainy, so transparent, the ground is almost visible right through.The river tries to break through her lock She groans Down by her outflow she begins to gnaw at the lake ice Then she pushes through with a scream Her whole center starts slipping downward, slowly at first, then tearing downHighly recommended for that frisson of fear

Cecilia was born in the north of Sweden her parents come from Lapland During her teens, she worked as a journalist and after university specialised in marketing Over twenty years her work took her to Russia, Germany, France, Portugal, the Middle East and the UK.In 2010, she finished a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway She now lives in Calgary with her husband and twin daughters, r

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  • Paperback
  • 416 pages
  • Wolf Winter
  • Cecilia Ekbäck
  • English
  • 09 January 2018
  • 9781444789553

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