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Seal Woman by Solveig Eggerz is not a book I normally would’ve picked up. However, it came highly recommended from a friend of mine. The biggest selling points? The setting is in Iceland post WW2.
This book is not one of those books that you can pick up and read in one sitting. It’s what I call a very quiet book. It’s the kind of book that you have to really stop and listen intently to it.
The story follows an artist named Charlotte. She’s German and answered an ad to go to Iceland. We meet her on beach but in a series of flashbacks, the reader sees the story that brought her to Iceland.
Charlotte’s life takes her through her life in Germany. She’s a German citizen who is married to a Jewish man. His name is Max. Max is a political dissident and very vocal. Charlotte gets pregnant and for the sake of the child she gives the little girl up. The story pieces together Charlotte’s regret, mourning for her old life and her transition into the new life in Iceland.
That being said, this seems like a sort of boring book at first, doesn’t it?
It’s not. In fact, it’s actually one of the most beautiful, heart wrenching, painful books I’ve ever read. In fact, I love it so much that I think it should be required reading in colleges in schools. I really love this book because it takes a very honest look at what happened during the war and after the war.
Seal Woman is not an easy book to read. If you are a sensitive reader I would highly advise you against reading it. In fact, don’t.
I’m not a sensitive reader, but there are some topics that make me feel uncomfortable. This books hits on a lot of them. This book discusses rape, child rape, murder and so forth.
Now, before you start crossing this off the list, let me make it clear, this is not graphic. When I say that, I mean it doesn’t linger on these topics. It describes them in artful and abstract ways that the reader knows what occurred – but then moves on.
It’s a brutally honest book.
I love this book because it did something for me that hasn’t happened in a long time. It made me feel the weight of Charlotte’s emotions. I wasn’t just horrified at some of the scenes, I felt the horror. I felt the depth and I cried with her. Solveig Eggerz is a brilliant writer for this ability.
If a book does that it is amazing. I highly recommend this book. It really is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time.