Sunday, 8 June 2014

Oh, Alberta.

the Alberta Trilogy by Cora Sandel
(Alberta and Jacob 1926, Alberta and Freedom 1931 and Alberta Alone 1939)
 
“The truth was Alberta only knew what she did not want. She had no idea what she did want. And not knowing brought unrest and a giddy sensation under her heart. She existed like a negative of herself, and this flaw was added to all the others. To get away, out into the world! Beyond this all details were blurred. She imagined somewhere open, free, bathed in sunshine. And a throng of people, none of them her relatives, none of whom could criticize her appearance and character, and to whom she was not responsible for being other than herself.” 

 Alberta is a young woman living in Northern Norway with her brother, Jacob, and their parents. Alberta is unable to continue her education, and spends her days at home helping out, while her friends have either moved south or are busy getting hitched. She is constantly cold, both physically and emotionally.

In the second book, we find Alberte a few years later in Paris, where she sometimes works as a model for painters. She lives in the cheapest hotels and is constantly broke. She hangs with a crowd of international artists and their muses. She has changed a lot from the one she used to be in Norway, and she is independent and hates running into fellow countrymen, as she is worried about what they'd say behind her back. I'm not going to say anything about the third book, because then I'll spoil the essentials of the second book. But it is set a few years later, just after World War I. 

Alberta definitely found a special place in my heart. She reminded me a lot of my younger self, especially in her insecurity and constant coldness. And the whole part about finding yourself. Cora Sandel also writes well, and I was surprised that there weren't more quotes on Goodreads. I'd definitely have written some there myself if I had read it in English. I have a feeling that this book was controversial when it was published, and especially the second book where there are sex and even an abortion. I know that during World War II, the German regime in Norway banned the third book because they believed it to be anti-German.

I liked the second book best of all, and I believe that it should be on the 1001 books you should read list instead of Alberta and Jacob. And I would have loved to be in Paris in the that time period myself. Alberta and Jacob was April's read in Line's 1001 books reading circle, and although I read it then, I wanted to read the whole trilogy before writing about it.

And oh, does anyone know why the names have been changed from the Norwegian version (Alberte, Jakob) to the English one (Alberta, Jacob)? I have only seen that in children's books before. 

2 comments:

  1. Det gleder meg at du likte andre bok best, det gjør terskelen litt lavere. Jeg brukte over en måned på bok1 - men merker nå at jeg plutselig fikk lyst til å lese om Friheten. Ante ikke hun reiste til Paris, hadde innbilt meg at hun slavet rundt i Nord Norge. Den ligger lett tilgjengelig ved min venstre side og virker plutselig meget fristende.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Du må lese den! Jeg lover deg skandaler og søling av vin. Jeg er utrolig positivt overrasket, og har jo bare brukt en brøkdel på denne i forhold til Kristin Lavransdatter (fortsatt på side 251). Nå koser jeg meg med Oppmåling av verden og skal prøve å bli ferdig til søndag, men det er fotball VM og sommerfest som kommer til å ta mye tid. Heldigvis kan fotball og lesing kombineres.

      Delete

Blog Archive