Author: Linda Olsson
Title: Astrid and Veronika
Description: Astrid and Veronika are neighbors, both wishing to live in seclusion, but somehow coming together to form a friendship. Although Astrid has lived in the same area her whole life and is coming to the end of her years, and Veronika has travelled all over the world and has many years to live, both are grieving and in danger of cutting themselves off from the world. Watching them move gradually toward friendship, the reader gets to know them as they become acquainted with one another, both sharing secrets that have brought them to this point in their lives.
Plot: The novel is more character-driven than plot-driven, but enough happens in the story to move things along.
Characters: Both Astrid and Veronika are guarded and protective against vulnerability. Olsson does a masterful job of revealing their secrets bit-by-bit. Both have been scarred by events in their lives that they can’t escape or fully acknowledge, but somehow they are able to help one another.
Writing style: Olsson, a first-time novelist, has produced a quietly understated gem.
Audience: While I would primarily classify the book as literary fiction, readers of chick-lit who could be convinced to try it would probably like it.
Wrap-up: Women’s lives can be almost unspeakably tragic, but their resilience, especially as they bond with one another, can be remarkable. Astrid and Veronika portrays this in a sympathetic and moving manner. 4/5*.