Wednesday, November 21, 2018

185. The People of Hemso

The People of Hemso
August Strindberg
Around 200 pages

I had to reread my review of The Red Room, as I did not recall a single detail about that novel, except that it was written by Strindberg and I didn't like it (young Amanda sounded much less cranky). Anyway, this novel was just as bad and hopefully just as forgettable.

A man named Carlsson arrives at a sleepy little farming and fishing village in Sweden. He "helps" a widow and her son to revitalize their farm but is distrusted by most of the village for being an outsider. Rightfully so, because he is kind of a jack ass. Think Bel-Ami, but worse in every way.

It's been awhile since we have had a list book that is so painfully boring; even the ones I have disliked recently have offered some intrigue. The most interesting thing that happens in this novel is that they catch a seal, but the characters themselves downplay the event by declaring they would rather have herring instead.

I read that Strindberg wrote this novel because he was homesick and living abroad in Germany and France. You would think something born out of that longing would make the location sound a bit more appealing. I expected to fall in love with this village; even Zola made the village in Germinal sound charming in its own way. But I couldn't wait to leave Hemso and never return.

In the end, I hate Strindberg as much as Strindberg hates women. So at least our feelings are reciprocated.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

The island of Hemso is based on Kymmendo, where Strindberg grew up.

UP NEXT: Fortunata y Jacinta by Benito Perez Galdos. Obscure and over 800 pages...I might be awhile on this one.

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