Ekman, Kerstin

(1933-)
   A Swedish novelist who first became known as a writer of mystery stories, the best known of which is De tre sma mastarna (1961; tr. Under the Snow, 1997), Ekman produced two additional notable works in a similar vein. In Pukehornet (1967; The Devil's Horn), she departed from the rigid conventions of the mystery novel by dispensing with the need for an identifiable crime. Mened rn (1970; The Perjurers), a mixture of mystery and historical novel, tells the story of the labor organizer Joe Hill, who was found guilty and executed on trumped-up charges in 1915.
   Ekman's definitive breakthrough as a serious writer came with the novel Morker och blabarsris (1972; Darkness and Blueberry Brush). Set in a rural environment in northern Sweden, it tells a humorous but tragic story about a group of local people who eke out a living under depressing circumstances. Their most successful economic venture is the making and marketing of a type of moonshine that in quality far surpasses what is sold at the state-owned liquor stores. But Ekman also shows that sexual experimentation, as a departure from relatively strict norms of fidelity, has the potential for tearing up the fragile social and economic fabric of their community.
   Ekman grew up in Katrineholm, a town south of Stockholm, and perhaps her most significant literary work is a tetralogy, Kvinnorna och st den (The Women and the Town), that recounts the town's growth and development after the coming of the railroad around 1870. Consisting of the volumes Haxringarna (1974; tr. Witches' Rings, 1997), Springkaäll n (1976; tr. The Spring, 2001), Aängl huset (1979; tr. The Angel House, 2002), and En stad av ljus (1983; A City of Light), the tetralogy makes use of a large number of women characters, most of whom are related by blood, adoption, or marriage, to tell the story ofthe town's social and economic progress, which mirrors that of Sweden in general. The realism is at times graphic, as the books are full of hard labor, emotional and sexual abuse, and mental and physical illness, but Ekman's women are tough survivors.
   One of Ekman's cleverest stories is the novel Rovarna i Skulesko-gen (1988; tr. The Forest of Hours, 1998), the protagonist of which is the troll Skord (the meaning of the name is skog-ord or forest-word). As a troll, Skord has a life span that greatly surpasses that of humans, and thus Ekman is able to filter several hundred years worth of historical material through his consciousness. Skord is drawn to humans, learns to communicate with them, and becomes quite successful in a number of professions. He is ultimately able to integrate his troll nature with what he has learned from humans, and can thus be regarded as a symbolic bridge across the nature/culture divide.
   In her novel Haändelser vid vatten (1993; tr. Blackwater, 1997), Ekman successfully integrates some of the common features from her past as a mystery writer into her literary practice, thus, in the manner of postmodernist writing, mixing "high" and "low" stylistic elements. The novel takes place in the woods close to the Norwegian border and begins with a double murder that is investigated on two temporal levels separated by a period of 18 years. Intertextual references abound, such as the sex-crazed woman character Ylajali Happolati, a reference to Knut Hamsun's novel Sult (1890, tr. Hunger, 1899), who 18 years after having first been encountered has become a professor of folklore at the University of Helsinki. Ekman thus also indulges in humor and satire in the novel that garnered her the Nordic Literary Prize in 1994.
   Goär mig levande igen (1996; Bring Me Back to Life) is set in Stockholm and features a women's discussion group, a device that allows Ekman to offer a cross-section of women's experience and attitudes toward Swedish society. An extension of and response to Eyvind Johnson's Krilon trilogy (1941—1943), the book examines the power of communication to improve people's lives. It also has an element of the mystery story in it, as the body of a missing woman is found in a freezer; this detail should perhaps be read as an ironic postmodern response to Johnson's work of high modernism.
   A recent large work is a trilogy with the common title V rgskinnet (The Wolf Hide), which consists of the volumes Guds barnhartighet (1999; God's Mercy), Sista rompan (2002; The Last String), and Skr plotter (2003; Scratch Tickets). Its setting is the same locale as that found in Haändelser vid vatten, a community named Svartvattnet (Blackwater) in the forest land where the district of Jamtland borders on Norway. Covering the years from 1916 to the present time, it introduces the reader to the beauties of the mountain landscape, the travails of the local Sami culture, and the tension between traditional ways of life and the encroaching industrial and consumer society. Like Sara Lidman's great Jernbaneepos (Railway Epic), it is a monument to the strength and endurance of women, as is Ekman's entire oeuvre.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kerstin Ekman — Kerstin Lillemor Ekman (born August 27 1933 in Risinge) is a Swedish novelist.Kerstin Ekman wrote a string of successful detective novels (among others De tre små mästarna and Dödsklockan ) but later went on to psychological and social themes.… …   Wikipedia

  • Kerstin Ekman — Kerstin Lillemor Ekman (Aussprache: [ˌɕæʂːtin ˈeːkman], * 27. August 1933 in Risinge, Östergötlands län) ist eine der angesehensten Schriftstellerinnen Schwedens. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biografie 2 Auszeichnungen 3 Werke …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kerstin Ekman — Activités romancière Naissance 27 août 1933 (1933 08 27) (78 ans) Risinge, Östergötland, Suède Langue d écriture suédois Genres roman …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kerstin Ekman — Kerstin Lillemor Ekman (Finspång, 27 de agosto de 1933) novelista sueca galardonada en 1994 con el Premio de Literatura del Consejo Nórdico. Estudió en la Universidad de Uppsala y tras varios años como maestra de primaria y trabajando en el cine …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ekman — can refer to *Carl Gustaf Ekman, (1872 – 1945) a Swedish politician *Erik Leonard Ekman, (1883 1931) a Swedish botanist *Gösta Ekman (junior), (1939 ) a Swedish actor *Gösta Ekman (senior), (1890 1938) a Swedish actor *Hasse Ekman, (1915 – 2004)… …   Wikipedia

  • Ekman — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Carl Gustaf Ekman (1872–1945), schwedischer Politiker und Premierminister Erik Leonard Ekman (1883–1931), schwedischer Botaniker Eugen Ekman (* 1937), finnischer Kunstturner Gösta Ekman (1890–1938),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kerstin — ist ein weiblicher Vorname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Namenstag 3 Varianten 4 Bekannte Namensträgerinnen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ekman — Ekman,   1) Kerstin, schwedische Schriftstellerin, * Risinge (Verwaltungsbezirk Södermanland) 27. 8. 1933; schrieb zunächst Kriminalromane, die sich durch ihre Erzähltechnik und psychologische Personenschilderung auszeichnen. Ekman hatte in den… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ekman — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Patronyme Erik Leonard Ekman, botaniste et explorateur suédois. Joel Ekman, musicien américain. Kerstin Ekman (1933 ), romancière suédoise. Nils Ekman… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kerstin — schwedische und niederdeutsche Form von Kristin bzw. → Christine. In Deutschland vor gut 50 Jahren populär, inzwischen weniger gefragt. Namensträgerin: Kerstin Ekman, schwedische Schriftstellerin …   Deutsch namen

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