About the book
Esther has lost her footing after a difficult divorce, and the weekends without her son Adrian are painfully lonely. Every second Saturday, in search of solace, she walks on a picturesque meadow on the shores of the B altic Sea. He sits on the bench under the beautiful old oak tree and sinks into thought.
One day there she meets Ruth, an old lady with an amazing ability to enjoy the beautiful things in life. In their conversations, Ruth recalls her youth, and Esther is fascinated by her stories. An unexpected and strong friendship forms between the two women.
But not everything is as it seems. What secrets is Ruth hiding?
The search for answers takes Esther to Lake Como in Italy, where she learns that Ruth's life story is much more complicated than she imagined.
At the end of this journey, hope for a new life will dawn in Esther's heart. For new happiness. And for a new love. Expect from January 18th!
New novel from the author of "The Red Notebook" and "Question is Half a Heart"
Sofia Lundberg worked as a journalist and magazine editor. Her debut novel "The Red Notebook" became a worldwide sensation. Critics have praised Lundberg's ability to take readers on a journey through time and space, love and loss, and have identified the writer as a bright new star in Scandinavian literature.
Books have always been an integral part of Sofia Lundberg's life. Even as a child, they attract her like precious stones, and among their pages she feels at home. She reads contemporary and classic authors and dreams of becoming a writer one day.
But first I had to live, to collect experiences - both misfortunes and moments filled with love and joy. It is they who breathe life into the written work, says the writer.
About the idea and messages in her third book, Lundberg says:
I was provoked by a topic that has become popular in recent years. I thought about how women struggle with the scars of their past. In my new book, I wanted to present two heroines who have experienced different difficulties and find support in each other. And the oak has become a metaphor for the past - a tree that is "still there" and grows stronger and more beautiful every year. It is not possible to escape the past, but we can come to terms with it. And I wanted my heroines to heal and find happiness again.
Sofia Lundberg is interested in psychology and philosophy, and it is no coincidence that her books direct our attention to the human psyche, the strength of spirit and the wisdom that people accumulate over the years. All this is advocated in her debut novel The Red Notebook. In her second book, The Question Mark Is Half a Heart, the author explores how the events of our childhood affect us in adulthood. And her third novel is a story about the friendship between two women and the rediscovery of oneself after a destructive relationship.
Later in the year, the novel "Friday Night Club" will be published - a joint project of Sofia Lundberg, Alison Richman and M. J. Rose. The plot will take us to Stockholm at the beginning of the 20th century to follow the fate of the artist Hilma af Klint and her friends, who with their extraordinary view of art defy artistic and social norms in a world full of obstacles and indifference.
Excerpt from "And the Oak Is Still There"
The silence is broken by a flock of birds flying from the crown of the oak tree. Esther is startled by the sudden rustling in the branches above her head and opens her eyes. A few leaves are plucked from the tree and slowly drift to the ground.
Then he notices that there is someone by the water. He squints to see more clearly. In the distance looms a frail female figure with a bent back and long gray hair held in a solid ponytail. The woman throws something into the water. Esther stands up and carefully steps on the slippery coastal rocks.
Handfuls of crumbs fly into the air and then end up in the water, where a flock of ducks pounce on them greedily. The old woman is holding a full plastic bag and is constantly scooping new handfuls out of it.
– The bench is finally free, she said without turning around.
Esther stops and smiles hesitantly.
– Yes. Are you sitting there too?
The woman turns to her, smiles and hands her the bag.
– Yes, they put her in a very good place. Come throw some too. It's very soothing.
Soothing? Throwing crumbs in the water? Ester looks at her in bewilderment, and the woman shakes the bag slightly and hands it to her again.
– It's comforting to throw anything. Just imagine it's something you want to part with and you'll see how nice it is.
Her face lights up with a smile, deep wrinkles are cut around her eyes, left there as an imprint of the many laughs, and her cheeks are lined with thin sharp lines. Her skin is so pale it looks transparent. Green blood vessels line her temples, and her small eyes shine beautifully through the wrinkles. It's as if the happiness hidden there radiates light. She scoops crumbs into her palm and holds out her hand to Esther.
– Give your hand, she invites her.
Esther performs. Now her fist is full of crumbs and pieces of bread. Some roll and fly to the ground. Meanwhile, the ducks are out of the water and getting closer to her. Hunger makes them fearless, and they unflinchingly go hunting for the sweet bread that is usually found around people. She swings her arm back hard, then swings it forward and the crumbs fly high into the air. The old woman is right - the feeling is pleasant. Esther reaches for the bag again, scoops once more and throws again. The ducks in the meadow fight over the bigger pieces, their beaks clattering loudly.
– I call this one Rinaldo – the woman calls and points to the biggest male treacle.
– Nice name. Unusual.
The woman takes off her crocheted glove and offers Esther her hand. Her skin is cold and rough.
– My pleasure. Ruth – she introduces herself. - Many times I have seen you sitting upstairs on the bench.
– Weird. I see you for the first time.
– Yes, I didn't mean to disturb you. You looked so busy crying to me.
– Isn't it time to wipe away the tears? Don't you think so? Your eyes are puffy like meatballs,” Ruth continues.
– Why are you talking to me like that? - asks Esther, embarrassed by her bold statement, but receives no answer.
She raises her hand to her eye and feels her eyelid. Then she smiles, and her eyes are almost lost behind the puffy skin, so it's hard for her to see. Ruth is probably right. Eyes like meatballs.
At this time, Ruth turns the bag upside down and shakes the last crumbs onto the ground. Several ducks walk up to her and start pecking, daring to get so close that they almost touch her shoe. Ruth folds the bag, puts it in her pocket, and puts her knitted gloves back on.
– It's getting cold now. Don't you think? – she notes with a smile and shivers from the cold.
Esther turns, walks slowly towards the oak and waves above her head.
– Maybe a little, but it is still warm on the bench, the sun is shining on it, and the tree keeps a covenant. Goodbye. Nice to meet you.