Olsson, Linda

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Olsson, Linda

PERSONAL:

Born in Stockholm, Sweden; immigrated to New Zealand, 1990; married; children: three sons. Education: University of Stockholm, J.D.; Victoria University of Wellington, B.A.; Auckland University, M.A., 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Auckland, New Zealand. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Previously worked in banking in Sweden.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Sunday Star Times Short Story prize, 2003, for "Someone to Watch over Me."

WRITINGS:

Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs (novel), Penguin Books (Auckland, New Zealand), 2005, published as Astrid and Veronika, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Linda Olsson was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, but as an adult she moved several times before settling permanently in Auckland, New Zealand. Her first book, published as Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs in New Zealand and as Astrid and Veronika in the United States, is a reflection of her formative years. On her Web site, Olsson says of the book: "There is the landscape, the seasons, the land. My native Sweden. In a sense perhaps the book is a love letter to the country where I was born. Perhaps it is a letter of farewell." Set in Sweden, the book tells the stories of two women of disparate ages who live next door to each other and share their personal histories and emotional upheavals. Veronika is a struggling thirty-year-old writer, while her neighbor Astrid is in her seventies, living alone; her husband is dying in a nursing home. Booklist reviewer Allison Block praised Olsson's effort for "the lyrical prose and expert rendering of the themes of heartbreak and loss." A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that the story is not completely fleshed out, but commented that "Olsson has a clear feel for the emotional wellsprings of both characters." On a more positive note, Steve Scott observed in the New Zealand Herald that "Olsson seduces the reader with her hypnotic prose, rendering the book not only impossible to put down, but impossible to forget."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2007, Allison Block, review of Astrid and Veronika, p. 57.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2006, review of Astrid and Veronika, p. 1240.

New York Times Book Review, April 1, 2007, Ann Harleman, "Unlikely Friends," p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, January 22, 2007, review of Astrid and Veronika, p. 160.

ONLINE

Linda Olsson Home Page,http://www.lindaolsson.net (August 30, 2007).

New Zealand Herald,http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ (September 22, 2005), Steve Scott, review of Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs.

Novel Journey Blog,http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/ (March 30, 2007), Göran Palm, interview with Linda Olsson.

Penguin Group Web site,http://us.penguingroup.com/ (August 30, 2007), "A Conversation with Linda Olsson."