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"Astrid and Veronica" by Linda Olsson

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"Astrid & Veronika" recounts the friendship that springs up between two women badly in need of it, and how it saves them. Ms. Olsson describes it very well; the friendship unfolds at a realistic pace and their relationship gains in sweetness as the book travels along. I would like to salute the author for the opening image in this book: the younger woman, Veronika, arrives at a rental home late at night and unloads her car by the light from the headlights. This makes a small tunnel of light in an otherwise black-as-pitch world; thus does hope ignite and life hold the potential for a re-start. Astrid sees this glimmer from her neighboring home and senses a return to life for herself.
The seasons are turned interestingly upon their heads: spring is portrayed as the hardest time to bring forth young, while in autumn mothers have the benefit of the fullness of Earth's bounty - it's easy to find food and provide for offspring. The friendship has its hard knocks, and survives everything.

This is a gentle, graceful tale, with the possible subtitle, "Now let me sing gentle songs." This, in fact, is the name of the book Veronika winds up writing. It's life-affirming, wonderfully written, and well worth it. If you haven't checked this one out, do so right away.
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