Every summer throughout their childhood, Erika, Molly and Laura, half-sisters by different mothers, gather on the magical Baltic island of Hammarsö to stay with their charismatic father, Isak. Until one year when a childhood betrayal causes an incident of such senseless cruelty that it alters forever each sister’s life. Twenty-five years later, the three women return to the island to see their father, and finally confront the spectre that has continued to haunt them.
‘A Blessed Child is like a fine, long evening of light. There are all sorts of colours on the horizon, and even when the darkness becomes visible, there is still a place to turn to. This is a book for fathers and daughters, and for anyone who’s beguiled by the country of family. The language is clear and runs deep. The story is profound and touching. Together, they announce another great story-telling feat by Linn Ullmann. She reminds me of Berger, or Acimna, of Tóibín: no greater praise’
‘Ullmann wants us to be patient as she is patient, and it’s worth it; for the accomplished writing and to spend time on Hammarsö, which is the greatest character in this book; a fascinating island with its African landscape, its Norse customs, its blood-fat ticks and wild strawberries, its late-blooming lilac and rumours of bears’
‘Abounding in the inner correspondences usually associated with lyric poetry – resonant changes are rung on 400-million-year old rocks, birds, ticks, a boy running, Prospero and Caliban – A Blessed Child shows Ullmann asserting the indestructibility of the imagination, whether a social outcast’s or a trapped insider’s’
‘First affecting, then alarming, sometimes acerbically comic, A Blessed Child has an exhilarating candour and clarity in its grasp of family, period and place’
Boyd Tonkin, Independent