Great Lakes/Great Books is a monthly discussion group of books that have a focus on the Great Lakes or on water in general. Works of fiction, nonfiction, and more are discussed both in-person and virtually. This month’s selection is Swede Hollow by Ola Laarsmo, translated by Tiina Nunnally.
About the book
When Gustaf and Anna Klar and their three children leave Sweden for New York in 1897, they take with them a terrible secret and a longing for a new life. But their dream of starting over is nearly crushed at the outset: a fire devastates Ellis Island just as they arrive and then the relentlessly harsh conditions and lack of work in the city make it impossible for Gustaf to support his family. An unexpected gift allows the Klars to make one more desperate move, to a cluster of rough-hewn shacks in a deep, wooded ravine on the edge of St. Paul, MN, known as Swede Hollow.