God's Mercy


God's Mercy

Kerstin Ekman
Translated by Linda Schenck

European Women Writers Series

400 pages


July 2009


$22.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

When Hillevi, a young, inexperienced midwife, moves from the university town of Uppsala to the wilderness of Svartvattnet (Blackwater) to be with her unofficial fiancé, she is ill prepared for what awaits her. In this frigid, austere, and isolated territory, she encounters the overwhelming and unpredictable forces of nature and demoralizing poverty and ignorance while also gaining access to the unfamiliar world of nomadic Sami reindeer herders. A single traumatic event, never fully confronted, has devastating and far-reaching repercussions, but Hillevi also finds unexpected warmth and love.
Incorporating elements of the jojk oral tradition of Sami culture, God’s Mercy is a thoroughly engrossing story about the capriciousness of memory, the resilience of the human psyche, and the endless wonder of the wild.

Author Bio

Kerstin Ekman, the author of seventeen widely translated books, lives in rural Sweden. God’s Mercy is the first novel in the “Wolfskin” trilogy, which includes The Last String and Scratchcards. Linda Schenck lives in Göteborg, Sweden, working as a translator and conference interpreter. Her many translations from Swedish include four other novels by Ekman.


"Ekman describes everything with an unflinching eye, from tuberculosis to the particulars of sex and birth, and the harsh beauty of the Swedish landscape."—Publishers Weekly

"The story will capture you."—Barbara Ardinger, ForeWord

"Sense of place is not just a combination of geography and culture, it is a synergy of the two. Swedish author Kerstin Ekman doesn't seek to describe sense of place in her novel God's Mercy. She does something far more difficult. Sense of place so permeates the novel it moves from being a setting to almost its own unspoken character."—Tim Gebhart, BlogCritics.org

"The writing is gorgeously evocative of a place many of us will never see. . . . Credit is also due to translator Linda Schenck, who ably shifts this exquisite prose into English ."—Diane Leach, PopMatters.com

God's Mercy is a story about outsiders. In classic works about the transformation of Sweden written by men, the hero often exclaims: ‘I don't want to be like them.’ Kerstin Ekman’s narrative orbits around the key phrase: ‘They're not really like us.’ The men say it about the women, Hillevi’s aunt says it about the poor, Hillevi says it about the Sami. It is a statement that echoes throughout the blood-drenched history of the twentieth century. They’re not like us, we don’t want them living with us, they shouldn’t live. But who do we mean by ‘us’?”—Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)

Table of Contents


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