Women's Worlds Book Group

2017 changed the conversation for women. From the Women's March to #MeToo and everything beyond and in between, popular culture is coming to a reckoning and women's voices are raised louder and stronger than ever. In an era of growing political nationalism, we want to turn our ears to the words and voices of women beyond our land and language. From the Caribbean to South Africa to Northern Europe, here are women's voices that reverberate in and beyond our urgent moment.

All texts are from Archipelago Books, a not-for-profit literary press devoted to promoting cross-cultural exchange through innovative classics and contemporary international literature in translation.

January's selection is To Mervas by Elizabeth Rynell.

Event date: 
Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
To Mervas Cover Image
By Elisabeth Rynell, Victoria Haggblom (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780981987378
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - May 28th, 2010

To Mervas is a turbulent journey through the wilderness of memory, domestic violence, and the vast gulf between lost lovers. After years of insulating herself from humanity in the wake of her disabled son’s death, Marta is jolted out of exile when a cryptic note arrives from Mervas, a ghost town deep in Sweden’s desolate northern wilds. The letter is from Kosti, her once-great love, shattering a silence of more than twenty years. When spring comes she sets off alone for Mervas, without any notion of who or what might await her there. Physical and emotional abuse, longing and loss, and the nature of love and redemption are explored with remarkable empathy and a visceral lyricism in Elizabeth Rynell’s stirring novel.

About the Author

Elisabeth Rynell, born in Stockholm, is a poet and a novelist. Her works include the poetry volumes Night Conversations, Sorrow Winged Songs, Desert Wanderer, and the novels A Tale of Loka and HohajTo Mervas was a finalist for the August Strindberg Prize and is her first novel to appear in English.

Victoria Häggblom is a writer and a translator. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Praise For…

A wrenching tale by Swedish novelist and poet Rynell traces a woman’s personal journey through shame and violence . . . Rynell proves a fearless writer in this emotionally relentless work and finds a lyrical grace in Marta’s self-awareness. —Publishers Weekly 

Not a single false note rings in this sonata in minor. —Swedish Daily News 

Elisabeth Rynell’s language can only be described as breathtakingly beautiful. —Uppsala Daily News 

Rynell is one of Sweden’s most intense and intensely appreciated storytellers in prose and verse. She never wastes words. —Rika Lesser