Scandinavian Summer

A story of summer and winter has haunted me since I was a little girl. One afternoon our elementary class gathered for an assembly in the school gymnasium. The occasion, meeting a real, live author. He promised to read us an historical fiction story that he had written, himself. I was at the edge of my seat.

He read us the story of a boy who ignores his parents’ admonition to leave his beloved puppy safe at home. Instead, the boy smuggles the puppy in his coat pocket, bringing him on an expedition to the lake, where he and his big brothers harvest ice for the farm ice house. I’m sad to say the puppy met an unfortunate end at the bottom of the icy lake. The story ends with the little boy eating ice cream the following summer, made from ice that was collected the day he lost his best friend.

The name of the author who chose *that* story for the elementary assembly, is lost in the mists of time.  But the idea of winter saved up in the ice house of our hearts, to later chill our summer, has never left me.

Now that I’m grown up, and can choose books that don’t involve drowned doggies, I enjoy going on reading adventures to learn about different parts of the world. This January our household did a deep dive on hygge, the art of Danish-style wellbeing and happiness. Reading about comfy socks and candles made us feel cuddly and cozy all through January and February.

The Little Book of Hygge excited us with fun suggestions to bring hygge to our home, even though we’re not lucky enough to live in Denmark. One  hygge idea was Danish music. Lucky me, Wiking specified some artists to explore. That was the first time I searched Apple Music for Agnes Obel.

As spring faded into summer, our hygge candles were still flickering, but we’d lost enthusiasm for wool socks, and I had completely forgotten about Agnes Obel.

Then one hot day, as I was dusting to GooglePlay radio, this cool, dreamy, yet deeply engaging sound made me cast aside my dust rag and race for the iPad. Who was the originator of this enchanting, icy music?

Agnes Obel.

Citizen of Glass is sadly sweet, soothing and intriguing at the same time. It’s like entering Narnia to find that it’s winter, preserving a snowball in the freezer for summer. Or like crunching a chip of ice that has survived to the Fourth of July in a prarie-era ice house.

My Scandinavian summer hasn’t been all about the Danish songstress. I’m on a Swedish author reading kick, too. I just finished The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, and I’ve just started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Both these books have been full of intrigue. But, thank goodness, there are no puppies or icy lakes.