Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Review: The Memory of Love by Linda Olsson

Title: The Memory of Love
Author: Linda Olsson
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 26, 2013 (first published in Swedish in 2011)
Source: copy received from the publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads

Marion Flint, in her early fifties, has spent fifteen years living a quiet life on the rugged coast of New Zealand, a life that allows the door to her past to remain firmly shut. But a chance meeting with a young boy, Ika, and her desire to help him force Marion to open the Pandora’s box of her memory. Seized by a sudden urgency to make sense of her past, she examines each image one-by-one: her grandfather, her mother, her brother, her lover. Perhaps if she can create order from the chaos, her memories will be easier to carry. Perhaps she’ll be able to find forgiveness for the little girl that was her. For the young woman she had been. For the people she left behind.
Olsson expertly interweaves scenes from Marion’s past with her quest to save Ika from his own tragic childhood, and renders with reflective tenderness the fragility of memory and the healing power of the heart.

My Review:

I love a book that I go into with no expectations, and it ends up being a pleasant surprise.  I *think* I received this book ages ago from the publisher when it was first released in English, and I just never got a chance to review it at the time.  It sat forlornly on my shelf until it got picked in the TBR Book Baggie.  It seemed fairly short, so I gave it a go...and what a gem I found!

The two stories within this novel (of Marion's childhood and Marion's present-day issues with a young boy that she's taken under her wing) are woven together beautifully.  As you learn more about Marion's past, the way she chooses to deal with her present makes more and more sense.  And her past is quite shocking--the slow buildup to the climax of her childhood trauma made me want to devour the entire book in one sitting.  All of this is highlighted by the fabulous writing, which is lyrical and poetic without coming off as too flowery.

The fact that this isn't a terribly long review shouldn't be a reflection on the quality of the book, as it may be one of my top reads of 2014.  It's a smaller book in size, but it packs a big punch with complex characters, surprising twists, and intriguing relationships.  Someone order me Linda Olsson's backlist, STAT.

This was my fifth pick from the TBR Book Baggie! My next pick from the baggie is:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville!

Yup...I'm a little intimidated.


  1. Ahhhh I love lyrical reads that aren't too flowerly!! Your TBR Book Baggie is such a cool idea, too!

    1. Thanks! It's helpful because it pushes me to read what's already on my shelf more often. However, whenever I pick a classic, I tend to procrastinate...

  2. There's something about those short, powerful reads that get to me. How can an author say, in a short time, so much?? It's not always necessary to read a big chunky book to be hit over the head :D

    I ADORE your book baggie. Good luck with Moby Dick...gulp ;) I've never attempted that one.

    1. I'm gonna need it! Remember how long I procrastinated on Gone With The Wind? I have a feeling this will be similar.

  3. Ooh, this sounds wonderful! I love books that share two stories and make you wait to find out some gripping secret. I'm also loving reading translated fiction and haven't tried anything originally in Swedish, so that makes me want to pick it up even more.

    1. Yes, you would definitely adore this one then. Also, never read translated Swedish...have you read the Dragon Tattoo books??? Favorites!!

  4. I am a huge fan of Linda Olsson and it's nice to see someone else appreciating her work, too. :) I love how emotional her books are in this quiet way. It's a very unique style, but one that I just adore. Her other novels are great as well.

    1. Oh, wonderful! I was waiting to hear from someone who had read her other work. I really need to get at her backlist.

Imagination Designs