A Blessed Child, By Linn Ullmann

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The Independent Culture

Three half-sisters from Oslo, safely far from the brilliant but despotic Swedish medic whose various loves gave them different mothers, agree to visit the brooding old patriarch Isak on his Baltic island.

Sharply satirical glimpses of middle-class Scandinavia slip into vividly rendered memories of a teenage summer idyll that collapsed into tragic disenchantment.

In Sarah Death's deft translation, Ullmann's fourth novel has an exhilarating hold on family, period and place. Yes, you do catch glimpses of her father (Ingmar Bergman) but this shows how strong a writer she has become.