Scandinavian emigrant writers
A huge number of Scaninavians have emigrated to other countries - mostly to America, but also to England, Australia, Canada, and other countries. Most of the emigration took place in the 18th centries, when the Scanidinavian countries were poor.
Many of the emigrants, and their decendants, have later published novels, some about the experiences they had with emigration, immigration and estiblishing a new life. We know a few of them, mostly because they have established themselves as Norwegian-Americans, Swedish-American or some such identity, and because them have become famous and visible. Such are the cases of for example Ole Edvard Rollvaag and Siri Hustvedt, both Norwegian-Americans and quite visible.
But most of these authors, I suspect, we do not know. They have disappeared from the radar of the country they or their family emigrated from or perhaps decendants with relatively weak ties to those countries. Here at ScandinavianBooks we feel it is sad the this has happened, and will try to build a section on the site concerned with Scandinavian emigrants authors and decentants of emigrants.
However, this is a more or less impossible mission unless we get some help from our readers. So please, get in touch with us, send us you books for review or contact information for authors in Scandinavian emigrant authors. We need you help!
Forgiven, by P M Kulseth
Forgiven is the debut novel by P M Kulseth (actually Pauline Kulseth), a granddaughter of Norwegian immigrants to America. The author was born and raised on a farm in southwest Minnesota. She has retained a close association with her extended family in Norway.
Forgiven is a large historical fiction novel, set in the Viking age. The story mostly takes place in Norway, but several of the protagonists also travel around in the various areas of the world where the Vikings actually traveled – to Constantinople (Istanbul), Ireland, Iceland, and other places. Kulseth has clearly done a considerable amount of research on the Vikings, and has extensive knowledge of living conditions, food and preparation of food, and a variety of other topics pertaining to the era.
Forgiven tells the story of people living in a small fjord relatively far up north in Norway, in a small community where they mostly live in peace and support themselves by agriculture, farming and fishing (as most people in those parts of the country did, and many still do). They are frequently harassed by Viking raiders under command of the notorious Viking chief Red Bear (Raudebjorn) – a brutal berserker, a man who plunders and rapes even among his own.
At the center of the story is a boy who has been brutalized and raped by Red Bear and a woman he victimizes. The boy rapes an innocent little girl in a fit of anger while being high on mushrooms and drink, actually thinking, while he is doing it, that she is Red Bear. As it turns out, the little girl becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son as a result of the rape. The story in Forgiven is to a large extent about how they eventually find one another, many years later, and he begs for and gets forgiveness from the girl he raped a long time ago.
This is a fairly realist Viking tale, sometimes quite brutal and explicit, about the tough and hard lives that people lived during this era. It is excellently researched and quite interesting. However, it is not always easy to follow the twists and turns of the tale or see the logic behind these turns. It is a story of conversion and forgiveness, the restoration of broken spirits, and the discovery of a most unexpected love.
Tales of an emigrant: Mary Torbenson
Mary Torbenson is the granddaughter of emigrants from Denmark and Norway. She has written two books about the story of her family, starting with a difficult emigration from Denmark and continuing the tale up to settlement on the great plains of Dakota. She describes her books as "fiction based on fact". The books are self-published, and we have not reviewed them and can only give brief descriptions at this point.
Uncertain Tomorrow, by Mary Torbenson
This book starts off in Denmark, in 1876, and describes the emigration from that country to the United States by John Peter Adamson. He was a young boy, fifteen years old, and lived under harsh conditions. Penniless he started his long journey walking on foot to Germany.
Link to Uncertain Tomorrow at Amazon US.
A New Beginning, by Mary Torbenson
A New Beginning continues the saga of the immigrants John and Mary Adamson and their childen. It is a book about their dream of land, of the labor of homesteading, and the fight for survival on the harsh plains of North Dakota in a 12 by 12 foot shack.
Link to A New Beginning at Amazon US.