A Year of Orenda – A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

Today Mandie shares her thoughts on A Modern Family by Helga Flatland. We listened to this book together on route to our holiday last year and you can read my thoughts right here. Read on to find out what the book is all about and see if Mandie agrees with me:

Source: Amazon

About the Book

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Google Play | Apple Books

Mandie’s Thoughts

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland is bloody brilliant – there I have said it. Job done – review over. Only joking… Well the review over part anyway. I listened to the audiobook of this back in June 2019 whilst on a road trip from Northumberland to Stirling and although I am only now just getting around to writing the review, the book itself has stuck with me. What makes this book special? There are no murders, there are no great mysteries to solve. It’s about family. It could be any family and it could be in any location as really these are both secondary to the actual story. And that is the beauty of it.

In telling the story of Liv, Ellen and Håkon and how they deal with the bombshell that, after years of marriage, their parents are divorcing, Helga has essentially managed to tap into the lives of just about everyone who reads this book. Not necessarily from the perspective of divorcing parents, but the family dynamic itself. I certainly recognised some of the things that happened as mirroring my own happyish dysfunctional family, but in a way that made me smile. As you watch how the decision made by the parents has a ripple effect on the children, you witness them question their own lives and decisions, and struggle with what lies ahead for them and how the family dynamic will change forever. They feel like their safety blanket has been taken away from them, after all they had no idea that this was even a possibility. Despite them all now being grown up, they still don’t understand it.

The more I listened to the book, the more I became drawn to the story. It certainly highlights that no matter how close you may think you are as a family, you don’t always know what is going on and that, at times, you see only what you want to or more specifically what you are allowed to. If you are looking for a complete change of pace and want to delve into the psychology of family and relationships, then this really is a book you should pick up a copy of this book and dive between the covers and I challenge you to not be able to relate to it even some small way.

About the Author

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize.

She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Author Links: Twitter

About the Translator

Rosie Hedger was born in Scotland and completed her MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated with a distinction in Norwegian. Rosie spent a year at the University of Oslo, taking courses in Norwegian language and literature and researching for her dissertation on contemporary Norwegian fiction. Since completing her studies, Rosie has also lived in Sweden and Denmark, and is now based in the UK.

Books by Helga Flatland

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