A Blessed Child
By Linn Ullmann
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780307277817, 320pp.)
Publication Date: August 11, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A Blessed Child is a haunting parable of innocence lost from the internationally acclaimed author of Grace and Stella Descending.
Every summer Isak Lövenstad gathers his three daughters by different wives to the windswept Baltic island of Hammarsö. Here Erika, Laura, and Molly find a sense of family and friendship, although nothing can match Erika's connection to the rebellious misfit Ragnar. But when an act of senseless cruelty separates them forever—and drives the sisters from the island in shame and regret—they must leave childhood and their growing relationships behind. Now, twenty-five years later, they return to visit their ailing father and confront the specter of that awful summer.
Linn Ullmann is a graduate of New York University, where she studied English literature and began work on a Ph.D. She returned to her native Oslo in 1990 to pursue a career in journalism. A prominent literary critic, she also writes a column for Norway's leading morning newspaper. She lives in Oslo.
“Ullmann's sentences...are a pleasure to read and her deft modern sensibility is winning.”—The New York Times Book Review“Linn Ullmann's A Blessed Child is a like a fine, long evening of light. There are all sorts of colors on the horizon, and even when the darkness becomes visible, there is still a place to turn to. This is a book for fathers and daughters, and for anyone who's beguiled by the country of family. The language is clear and runs deep. The story is profound and touching. Together, they announce another great story telling feat by Linn Ullmann. She reminds me of Berger, of Aciman, of Toibin: no greater praise.”—Colum McCann, author of Zoli: A Novel“A world-famous octogenarian father approaching death, three daughters, each of a different mother, a windswept island in the Baltic: of these, of fragments of recollection, and of a childhood summer when an event of unimaginable cruelty changed everything, Linn Ullmann has woven a memory novel of haunting power and grace."—Honor Moore, author of The Bishop's Daughter“A hauntingly beautiful novel of family ties, A Blessed Child takes on what it means to be old, what it means to have loved selfishly, deeply and - equally - to no longer love. Linn Ullmann has crafted an inescapably evocative novel about memory, about childhood, about the movement of life, the nature of grief and the enormous mystery of love.”—A.M. Homes, author of The Mistress's Daughter“A Blessed Child is a tour de force of, for want of a better way of putting it, narrative memory. In this nuanced and subtle and smart novel, the past and its tragedies are supervening over the present and its tragedies in wait, and even the living can seem to inhabit a kind of timeless island of familial memory. The folding of time upon time upon time, however complexly difficult for the writer to achieve, creates an effect that is sure and beautiful. This is a novel about how people think, and about the things we think, and about how, finally, the manner and content of our thoughts may very well be pretty much who we are.”—Donald Antrim, author of The Afterlife: A Memoir"A novel of stark beauty that leaves moral issues tantalizingly open."—Kirkus Reviews