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Two women
Marianne Fredriksson
Adult Fiction FREDRIKSS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Swedish novelist Fredriksson (Hanna's Daughters) offers a formulaic, mannered relationship saga about two mature, divorced women from vastly different cultural backgrounds who establish an improbable but enduring friendship. In Sweden in the 1980s, Inge Bertilsson, an unsentimental former school teacher who now writes books on education, befriends a Chilean immigrant, Mira Narvaes, who arrived as a political refugee from Pinochet's dictatorship years before with her husband and sons. Gingerly, each of the women, both near 50, begin to explore the other's world: Inge, who lives alone and has two grown daughters, endured marriage to an abusive, alcoholic husband, whom she claims still to love. She asks probing questions about the other woman's past in Chile that Mira, a proud, pious, vivacious woman, would rather keep buried. But then Mira decides to search for her daughter, who at 13 was raped by soldiers, then disappeared into a Chilean prison. With the help of Inge's two daughters and Mira's own sons, now well-assimilated Swedes, the two women discover what actually happened during those dark years. Fredriksson is bent on telling a straightforward tale with little regard to narrative style; she unaccountably switches from voice to voice and offers hackneyed descriptions (loneliness "closed in around them like shrunken old garments"). Perhaps this is the fault of the translation, which is flat and full of British vernacular. While Fredriksson's observations about Swedish society are occasionally pointed and even humorous, and she also illuminates the horrors of the Pinochet regime, the novel never achieves liftoff. (Apr.) Forecast: Fredriksson's great popularity in Scandinavia and Europe has yet to translate into comparable numbers here. Hanna's Daughters did well for Ballantine, however, and her audience will undoubtedly enjoy this novel, leading to respectable though not stellar sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In a work that seems more personal than Fredriksson's Hanna's Daughters (LJ 7/98) or Simon's Family (LJ 9/15/99), an instant spark between two women who meet by chance in a Swedish garden center soon binds them and their families in an intimate friendship. Both women are nearing 50 and divorced, with two grown children and similar childhood problems. But tall, blond Inge is a sensible Swede who relies on logic, while small, dark, passionate Chilean immigrant Mira talks daily to God. What starts simply as a charming tale of a rare friendship soon turns broader and deeper, as the circle of characters expands and terrible secrets are unearthed and shared. The worst of them concern the experiences of Mira's family and another friend at the hands of General Pinochet's forces in their native Chile. The author might have reined in minor characters to maintain a tighter focus and kept the ending from trailing off. Still, she effectively personalizes the immigrant experience and the abuses of the Pinochet regime, as she illuminates the bond between two unlikely kindred spirits. Appealing, if flawed, this is for fans of the author and most fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/00.] Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Inge
Age: 40s
Refined; elegant.

Age: 40s
Passionate; exotic.
Child care worker

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