Translator: Sarah Death
Author: Victoria Benedictsson
Publisher: Norvik Press
Year of Publication: 2011
This searingly honest novel follows the fortunes of young Selma Berg, whose fate has much in common with Madame Bovary and Ibsen’s Nora.
Written under the male pseudonym of Ernst Ahlgren in 1885, this memorable work of early feminist fiction is set in rural southern Sweden. The gifted young Selma is forced to give up her dreams of attending art school when her uncle forces her into marriage with a wealthy local squire, a much older man. Profoundly shocked by her wedding night and by the mercenary nature of the marriage transaction, she finds herself trapped in a life of idle luxury. She finds solace with her medical-student cousin and old sparring partner Richard, but when their mutual regard threatens to blossom into passion, Selma is forced to take radical action.