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Fredriksson, Marianne 1927-2007

Fredriksson, Marianne 1927-2007

PERSONAL:

Born 1927, in Gothenburg, Sweden; died of a heart attack, January 11, 2007, in Österskär, Sweden; married Sven Fredriksson; children: Turid, Ann (daughters).

CAREER:

Journalist for Göteborgs-Tidningen and Svenska Dagbladet; editor-in-chief of Allt i Hemmet, for fifteen years; founder of Vi föräldrar and Allt om Mat magazines; full-time author, 1988-2007.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Author of the Year award and Book of the Year award, 1994, for Hanna's Daughters.

WRITINGS:

Evas bok (title means "The Book of Eve"), Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1980.

Kains bok, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1981.

Noreas saga, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1983.

Simon och ekarna, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1985, translation by Joan Tate published as Simon & the Oaks, Orion (London, England), 1999, published as Simon's Family: A Novel of Mothers and Sons, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1999.

Den som vandrar om natten, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1988.

Gåtan (title means "The Riddle"), Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1989.

Syndafloden, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1990.

Blindgång, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1992.

Om kvinnor vore kloka skulle världen stanna, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1993.

Anna, Hanna, och Johanna, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1994, translation by Joan Tate published as Hanna's Daughters, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1998.

Enligt Maria Magdalena, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1997, translation by Joan Tate published as According to Mary Magdalene, Hampton Roads (Charlottesville, VA), 1999.

Flyttfaglar, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1999, translation by Anna Paterson published as Inge & Mira, Orion Books (London, England), 2000, published as Two Women: A Novel of Friendship, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2001.

Elizabeth's Daughter, translated by Anna Paterson, Orion (London, England), 2002.

Fredriksson's works have been translated into more than forty languages.

SIDELIGHTS:

Swedish journalist and novelist Marianne Fredriksson was the author of a number of international best sellers, including Hanna's Daughters and Simon's Family: A Novel of Mothers and Sons. Fredriksson, one of Sweden's most translated authors, often examined feminist, historical, and religious themes in her works. "I view all of my books as a kind of voyage of discovery," the author stated in an interview for the Reading Group Guides Web site.

Hanna's Daughters, Fredriksson's first work published in the United States, is "an unerringly perceptive portrait of women in the flux of Scandinavian history," observed a critic in Publishers Weekly. "With Hanna's Daughters," Fredriksson stated in the Reading Group Guides interview, "I wanted to investigate why women in our western society aren't able to help themselves to the rights they have received. Women today have the same educational opportunities as men. Most have their own jobs, make their own money, and have legal rights their grandmothers didn't even dream about. Yet, most of them continue the tradition of thousands of years of humble serving …" Set in the late nineteenth century, the work concerns Anna, a writer who probes her family's past, hoping to understand the harsh, complicated lives of her grandmother, Hanna, and mother, Johanna. "An atmosphere of darkness, reminiscent of an Ingmar Bergman film, eases to a satisfying conclusion," wrote Library Journal reviewer Michele Leber, and a contributor in People observed that the book's "message of reconciliation is transcendent."

In According to Mary Magdalene, Fredriksson presents an account of the life of Jesus from the perspective of one his devoted female disciples. The author portrays Mary as a blond-haired Jewish prostitute who becomes romantically involved with the Messiah. "Full of keening biblical insurgency, the narrative has a decidedly feminist-revisionist ideology," noted a Publishers Weekly critic. "A lovely, revealing retelling of a powerful story," Leber concluded.

Simon's Family blends elements of fantasy, mythology, and autobiography. In the Reading Group Guides interview, the author recalled: "I had reached a point in life where I wanted to go back and re-create my childhood. Not the family stories, not the pictures in the family album, but my personal experiences, feelings, memories." Set in the years before and during World War II, the novel concerns Simon Larsson, a sensitive, half-Jewish boy who is raised from infancy by his Scandinavian aunt and uncle. When the Nazis occupy Sweden, Erik and Karin Larsson struggle to keep Simon's parentage a secret. "In a novel rich in mystical overtones, his adoptive parents take on truly archetypal dimensions," remarked Booklist reviewer Catherine Sias. According to a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, "the novel contrasts the human capacity for suffering with a heartfelt optimism: these sentiments, along with the Swedish setting, enhance the story's appeal."

In Two Women: A Novel of Friendship, Fredriksson examines the unlikely relationship between a pair of middle-aged women: Inge, an unsentimental Swedish author who still loves her abusive ex-husband, and Mira, an emotional, deeply religious Chilean immigrant whose family suffered at the hands of General Pinochet's forces. Writing in World Literature Today, Anna Paterson called the work "a conscientious review of how we might try to deal with despair and fear." "The strength of Fredriksson's writing lies in its simplicity and the detail she infuses in her characters," observed Carolyn Kubisz in Booklist.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 1998, Kevin Grandfield, review of Hanna's Daughters, p. 1856; August, 1999, Catherine Sias, review of Simon's Family: A Novel of Mothers and Sons, p. 1985; February 15, 2001, Carolyn Kubisz, review of Two Women: A Novel of Friendship, p. 1115.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 1999, review of Simon's Family, p. 1524.

Library Journal, July, 1998, Michele Leber, review of Hanna's Daughters, p. 135; December, 1998, Michele Leber, review of According to Mary Magdalene, p. 154; September 15, 1999, Michele Leber, review of Simon's Family, p. 112; March 1, 2001, Michele Leber, review of Two Women, p. 130.

People, November 23, 1998, review of Hanna's Daughters, p. 47.

Publishers Weekly, June 1, 1998, review of Hanna's Daughters, p. 46; January 4, 1999, review of According to Mary Magdalene, p. 73; July 5, 1999, review of Simon's Family, p. 61; March 5, 2001, review of Two Women, p. 63.

School Library Journal, March, 1999, Molly Connally, review of Hanna's Daughters, p. 230.

Spectator, September 19, 1998, Paul Binding, "The Pains of Progress," pp. 47, 49.

World Literature Today, summer, 1990, Christina Söderhjelm McKnight, review of Gåtan, pp. 481-482; winter, 2000, Anna Paterson, review of Flyttfaglar, p. 181.

ONLINE

Reading Group Guides,http://www.readinggroupguides.com/ (July 10, 2007), Hanna's Daughters, author interview; and Simon's Family, author interview.

OBITUARIES

PERIODICALS

Australian, February 12, 2007, "Swedish Author Fredriksson Dies."

International Herald Tribune, February 12, 2007, "Swedish Author Marianne Fredriksson Dies at 79."

Local (Kista, Sweden), February 12, 2007, "Swedish Author Marianne Fredriksson Dies."

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