Kerstin Ekman's novel Blackwater took the world by storm in 1993 and has now been translated into over twenty-five languages. But her reputation as one of Sweden's best-known and most successful authors rests just as securely upon the series of four novels she wrote between 1974 and 1983, which are based on the author's childhood home town of Katrineholm some forty miles southwest of Stockholm. The first of these, Witches' Rings, which portrays the final years of the nineteenth century in a small urban community on the cusp of industrialisation, was published by Norvik in 1997. The Spring, which focuses on the lives of three women, Tora, Frida and Ingrid, moves the story on from the early twentieth century to the interwar years. According to Ekman herself, two major socio-psychological studies carried out in Katrineholm indicate 'that this was a community with which its inhabitants were content...I have devoted eleven years of my life to maintaining the exact opposite.' This is accomplished in a narrative of great subtlety and compelling power: once again Kerstin Ekman recreates the past, with an authenticity that resonates urgently in the present.
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