Snakes and Ladders
About the book
Suddenly nothing is like it used to be. Inga’s husband has a heart attack and no longer exists.
For two years she pushes away her sorrow, tries to make herself useful, buries herself in work. But a malicious remark triggers a collapse. She escapes to her family’s summer house in Marstrand, where she hopes to recover and regain some internal peace.
By coincidence she finds an old box of papers, newspaper cuttings and, at the bottom, a letter postmarked in 1916, in Mombasa, Kenya. Inga’s curiosity is awakened, particularly by a few cryptic lines at the end of the letter.
With a new sense of urgency she continues looking for an explanation, and at the same time distracts herself from thinking about the present. Her research takes her deep into her family history, to an event that took place in the backdrop to the First World War. She realises that another woman’s fate has affected her own life more than she ever knew.
Always With You is a broadly constructed novel about the power of memory over the present, and about reconciliation with the past. Maria Ernestam has created a personal, vivid story that does not evade the big questions of sorrow and loss, friendship and strong love.
What other people have said
A positive review is always a pleasure. These ones made me really happy.
Maria Ernestam employs a language that conveys the experiences and emotions of her characters in a subtle way. She creates fine historical snapshots from 1916 through the use of detailed inserts and a slightly archaic language and syntactic devices. Maria Ernestam also gently weaves pacifist and feminist ideas into her text, without in any way seeming forced. SvD
This is a wonderful novel… really a novel about our memories, their power over us and those around us… she really grabs hold of this as you’re reading, it’s almost chilling… all it needs is a single sentence, that’s how skillful she is. She places a sentence, you feel a punch in your midriff or a knife in your heart and you’re on an entirely different level… P4 Halland
As brilliant as ever in her evocative use of language. …as ingenious and tightly woven a story as Maria Ernestam’s earlier books. She is always climbing on my list of favourites. Nerikes Allehanda
Ernestam is a deft storyteller… Her depiction of the class society in Gothenburg during the First World War is very convincing, with the stink and the wall lice, crystal and damask – there are shades of the historical novelist Per Anders Fogelström class about her. Dagens Arbete