Shell by Kristina Olsson

1. First lines. 2. Publisher: Simon and Schuster. 3. Controversial design feature article: The Australian Women’s Weekly, 20 Feb 1959  4. Opera House Construction Phase 2 1966 by Robeyclark Licence CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
I liked this book.
Very slow-moving.

Pearl Keogh is a young journalist in Sydney in 1960. The construction of the Opera House and conscription to the Vietnam War is creating controversy. Pearl and her brothers had been left in an orphanage in their childhood, and Pearl has lost touch with her two brothers. She is desperate to find them before they are conscripted. Axel Lindquist is a young glassblower, working at the construction site, and the two form a relationship.

“Everywhere he looked he saw what Utzon saw. The drama of harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept …”

Quoted from the book.
  • Kirkus: “Readers who like a sense of forward momentum may feel forced—or perhaps encouraged—to slow down and enter the characters’ inner lives. And while that will be worth it for some, others may find the pace too slow to sustain interest. Olsson’s subtle and nuanced tale displays how deeply the past—or at least one’s perception of it—informs life in the present.”
  • New York Journal of Books: “Olsson’s writing is beautiful, captivating, and is enough in itself to recommend this book. As evidenced, her descriptions are vivid, evocative.”
  • The Sydney Morning Herald: “Olsson’s pace is measured and stately, forcing the reader to pay attention to her stunning language.”
Other edition.

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