Shadow – Book by Karin Altvegen

Very Lord of the RingsNowadays people talk a lot about chasing happiness. There are a multitude of books courses about being happy. Feeling happy has become something that we constantly desire convinced that when we have found the secret to being happy, everything will fall into place perfectly. Not being happy has come to be equated with failure. Is it possible to be happy each waking day, year in year out? Is it something worth striving for? Karin Altvegen explores this in her novel, “Shadow.”

Prior to reading this book, I had only read one other book by this author. Shame which had been described as:

“An existential thriller about the power of fear and the brains capability to repress things that is to painful to remember. About the fatal consequences of an atypical childhood.  And about the biggest shame of all: The feeling of not having been loved by one’s parents.”

It seems this theme and moral stand is continued in Karin’s novel, Shadow; So it was with trepidation and a pre-conceived idea that I read this book. And it certainly was about not facing one’s fears and loneliness! The shadows of the past can be forgotten, but their imprint might be indelibly fixed.

This is the story of a son trying to emulate his father: a psychological thriller about relationships and how the past can influence the future – how actions live on after they are long forgotten – what starts from a lack of good parenting, is then compounded by a serious lack of communication, ends with characters who take drastic and monumentally tragic couses of action.

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Featuring the writers Alice and Axel Ragnerfelt who hold a dark secret, ‘Shadow’ is a family history marked by what seems almost to be a generational pattern of despair. communication.

“She remembered how at first she was so proud to bear the Ragnerfeldt name. Her friends would get a dreamy look in their eyes whenever he was mentioned, and they wanted to hear all about what he was like. But when they noticed her ambivalence and lack of enthusiasm, she was met with suspicion, as if her words had sprung from envy. No one wanted to hear anything negative about Axel, the national treasure. She stopped saying what she felt and joined his crowd of admirers, at least outwardly. It was easier that way.”

One protagonist ponders the moment at which a personal calamity begins?

“When does the first flake fall that will form the snowball? At what stage does the movement start? Was it the day when he secretly chose the linguistic path, …. By now everything had been in motion for a long time. There was only one hour left until what they thought was theirs would be lost for ever.”

“But even a bell’s invisible crack is revealed by a dull peal. Had the evil always been inside him? Or had it taken over when everything was stolen from him. When all that remained to him was the ability to shatter in order to retaliate.  Too late he realized that he had directed his revenge at himself. That what he had shown himself to be capable of had chained him to a shame too heavy to bear.

So how does he handle it?

Gratefully he felt it (the alcohol) take over. The feeling of liberation when the brain when numb. When he was no longer capable of comprehending the depth of his pain. Why weren’t human beings born this way? With their blood spiked from the start with a small percentage of alcohol? With the defense mechanism disconnected and the soul in a state of peace. Was survival really so important that it outweighed all suffering?

Sometimes I think that today we have trouble finding happiness because of our deep fear of suffering. Is happiness a type of contentment?
Contentment is a feeling of having obtained or achieved what can reasonable be desired. And this novel discusses individuals who struggle with contentment…..the courage to settle down and dare to be satisfied with what they have.Very Lord of the Rings

But then on page 154 Altvegen writes, “Someone who puts caution first stifles the life he’s trying to save.”  and the writer’s astute observations made me ponder more about happiness and life, but in a different way.  A tale of murder and family secrets is not for everyone, yet I wondered why this novel was left sitting on my TBR shelf, for so long. It is seriously good.

Shadow is a novel  by Karin Altvegen from 2007 that has been translated into English.

Rating: 8/10

The good: Skillful and suspenseful convoluted plot that switches back and forth with  surprising twists and turns. The depth and layers of this book gives me somethings to ponder about.

 

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Proverbial Thursday – Silesian Weavers

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

A bad worker blames his tools – Australian Proverb

silesisan weavers woodcut

Wood engraving, c. 1850.

The year 1844 saw the famous “Weaver’s Revolt,” an event that led to the revolution of 1848/49. The revolt of the Silesian weavers, a response to the injustices of the low paying putting-out system, was violently suppressed by the Prussian military, and the situation of the weavers remained unchanged. Heinrich Heine (1795 – 1856), a famous Prussian poet wrote the poem, reproduced below, titled, “The Silesian Weavers. ” Proving to be his most famous work, it is highlighted, along with his portentous quote/s, this week on Proverbial Thursday, due in part because of the proximity of May day celebrations:

Heinrich Heine:

“Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings”. 

and this:

“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged”.

Background:

“The weavers worked for incredibly low wages, and as the industrial revolution gathered pace were gradually made unemployed in ever-increasing numbers. Their landlords also took most of their wages, to the point where they were effectively being treated as slave labor. As a result they rebelled against the state in 1844. The uprising was crushed but marked one of the first times that organized workers really attempted to improve their lot in life by working together. As a result, it still has a huge symbolic significance amongst socialist movements worldwide. The weavers inspired Heine to write the following poem which tells how the workers were  exploited and oppressed by the rich. Heine suggests that a day of reckoning can not be long postponed, and that sooner or later the rich will be forced to make amends. ”

The Silesian Weavers (1844)

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In light-less eyes there are not tears.
They sit at the loom and gnash the gears.
Germany, we weave the cloth of the dead
Threefold be the curse we weave ’round your head
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

A curse to the god to whom we knelt.
Through the winter’s cold, such hunger felt.
In the past we hoped, we waited, we cried
You’ve mocked us and poxed us and cast us aside
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

weber_1844_12

A curse on the king of the empire,
Who would not quell our misery’s fire.
He took every penny we had to give
Then shot us like dogs with no right to live
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

A curse on the cold, ruthless fatherland,
Where outrage and shame fester by your hand,
Where blossoms are trampled under your boot,
Where rot and decay are allowed to take root.
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

The shuttle is flying, the weaving looms roar.
Day and night we weave with you at our door.
Old Germany, we weave the cloth of the dead.
Threefold be the curse we weave ’round your head.
We’re weaving, we’re weaving.

————————————————-

In the poem monarchy, religion and nationalism are dismissed as being of little comfort when your family is starving and your rights are crushed underfoot. Heine was familiar with Karl Marx and it was Marx’s colleague and friend, Friedrich Engels, who first translated the poem into English.

As a result of this poem, and the riots resulting in revolution, the king of Prussia was forced to allow his people a constitution. This theme was also treated in a naturalistic play called “Die Weber” by Gerhart Hauptman, inspired by the accounts of Wilhelm Wolff. When first preformed in 1983 in Berlin, the German authority banned it.

 Source: http://ciml.250x.com/archive/events/english/1844_weaver_revolt/weaver_revolt_1844_silesia.html

What do you make of Heine’s quote?

Have we really learned any lessons from the worker’s sacrifice? Is the clock winding back?

trickle down

Something to Ponder About this upcoming May Day

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Monday Mystery Photograph – Last week – Malta

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I do encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph is located, or what it is.

MMPApril19

If you guess the location of the above photograph correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

Tara from After the Rain and Snow from SnowMeltsSomewhere  correctly identified last week’s mystery photograph to be a structure in Malta/Mediterranean Sea. Excellent work, girls. It was indeed something called the Azure window, in Gozo, Malta, and isn’t that sea so azure? At least it looks like on my computer’s resolution!

MMP April 18th

Gozo, Malta – Azure Window

 

Gozo is just one of the 21 islands that make up the Maltese archipelago. At a crossroad of civilizations, Gozo has, at times, been inhabited by Phoenicians, Arabs, Sicilians, and in more modern times, the French and English.  Sincere thanks go to Millie Thom for submitting this fabulous Photo for last week’s post. Perhaps Millie can tell us a little more about it?

Do you have a photo that you think could mystify my readers?

If so,  please drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit your photograph to Monday Mystery Photo, as guest contributions are always welcome.

Monday Mystery

Thanks so much Millie for giving us a great photograph to  ‘Something to Ponder About.’

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Weekly Photo Challenge- Abstract

Abstract
Weekly Photo Challenges are fun and interesting ways to embellish your photos.

 

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Central Station…… becomes something like entombed warriors!

Something familiar becomes something to ponder about

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Proverbial sml

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.
French Proverb

I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself.

D. H. Lawrence

seagulls

Some words this week on life and character. What are your thoughts on these sayings?

Something to Ponder About

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last week Cornwall

MMP April 18th

Where in the World are we this week?

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I do encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph was taken, or what it is.

If you guess correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

MMPApril12

Last week, guest submission from Andy at Fife Photos and Arts was a photography loads of people took a stab at. Most people such as Ted, Gerard, Tara, Sonel and Snowmeltssomewhere suspected the place was somewhere in the British Isles, but it was correctly guessed by   [drum roll…….] MOSY who used determination and Big brother Google to help identify the photograph as St Just, on the Lands End Peninsula of Cornwall.  Andy tells me that it’s the most south-westerly town in the UK.

Monday Mystery

If you have a great photo that you think could mystify my readers, drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit your photograph to Monday Mystery Photo as guest contributions are always welcome.

This week’s photograph was kindly submitted by Millie Thom. Thanks so much Millie for giving us a great photograph to  ‘Something to Ponder About.’

 

 

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What’s for Dinner? – Salmon [Fiesta Friday]

I think it must be a common family scenario, but I’m not sure?

Location: A suburban family kitchen. Time: 5pm, any day of the week. The pantry door swings open and shut several times; a low groan is emitted from a junior family member, quickly followed by a, “There’s nothing to eat,” kind of mantra.  As the cook of the house, my first reaction, to hearing this mantra, is to ignore it and keep working. I find that is best.

But as each family member wanders into the kitchen, clearly starving and desperate for a crumb of sustenance after a long day at work, my resolve wavers.  Collectively, their next move is to inspect the pantry, a second time, with the due diligence of police detectives at a crime scene, and it is then they hit me with the ‘kicker’, that eternal question, the one that makes me inwardly cringe………..

This is me inwardly cringing

This is me inwardly cringing

“What’s for dinner, Mum?”

And it is not only them. So attuned to hearing the ‘What’s for dinner?’ mantra, the canine members of my family become edgy at this hour too, and begin to pace up and down at the kitchen entrance, chiming in, in their own special way, to pressure me for food.

It is at this point, I have to steel myself and feign deafness, [clearly unsuccessfully], as I am always asked a second time, a little more urgently, “Hey, Mum. What’s for dinner?”

“Salmon,” I have to say, on this particular day, albeit through slightly gritted teeth, to which the response is anything from a contorted grimace, (coming from the fish-hating child), to unenthusiastic moans/yawns from the adolescent man-child/children.

Salmon!

It may be the ‘Steak and three veg’ of the hipster movement,  and it’s almost certainly still a popular dinner for both the weight-conscious and the seafood lovers of the world, but in my family, salmon is, ostensibly, boring and unappetizing, for dinner. [I can’t understand this, myself.] Now, thanks to a dear friend sharing her treasured family recipe with me, I can serve a seriously good Salmon Pie, that effectively nips the ‘What’s for Dinner’ groans, in the bud.

I hope you feel tempted to try it for yourself. It may just be something you ponder about for dinner.

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Salmon Pie

[Salmon is considered by some to one of the world’s healthiest foods, and contains Vitamin B12, D, Niacin, Omega -3 fatty acids, Phosphorus and Vitamin B6]

To make the Pie Crust:

1 and 1/2 cups of Plain All Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1 cup Grated Cheese (I use tasty)

125 g Butter

Method:

Rub butter into flour, until it is well mixed. It should still be crumbly at this point, not mixed up together into a dough*

*[A food processor is the easiest way to do this, especially if the butter has not yet softened].

Press 3/4 of this mix into a greased pie dish with your fingers, to form the base and sides of the pie. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of the mix for the topping.

Pie Filling:

220 grams Salmon (flaked and boned)

I Onion, finely chopped

3 Eggs

375 g Sour Cream

1/2 cup Grated Cheese

2 drops Tabasco Sauce (optional)

Combine all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and pour on top of the base.

Crumble the remaining 1/4 of  the pie crust mix over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes at 180° Celsius or until slightly browned.

Allow to cool and serve warm with a Garden/Greek salad or cold.

 

 Linking to FiestaFriday.net

For more fantastic menu ideas visit:

hostessatheart

toozesty.wordpress.com

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures throughout the world. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.

I hope you will too.

IMAG1141

Even in the driest hole one can sometimes find water – Zen saying

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple – Oscar Wilde

If there is not water in the hole, what is there to find?

Have you found Oscar Wilde’s comment to be correct?

Something Proverbial to Ponder About

Proverbial sml

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last week China

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph was taken, or what it is. If you guess correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.Monday Mystery

If you have a great photo that you think could mystify my readers, drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit your photograph to Monday Mystery Photo. Guest contributions are always welcome, and much appreciated, as is the photo for this week, submitted by Fife Photos and Arts.

MMPApril12

Can you guess the location of the above photograph?

Last week’s  Monday Mystery photograph prompted many of you to correctly guess the location as somewhere in China; Gerard, Drake and Nick from Nickisalwaysonholidays narrowed it down to Bejing; whilst Sonel gave the most detailed of answers, correctly explaining it was the Opera Hall, at the Summer Palace, in Bejing, China. Can’t you just imagine the Dowager empress roaming the grounds and watching the opera. What a grand structure.

Wikie tells us:

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value”.

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Monday Mystery Photograph gives you Something to Ponder About

Monday Mystery

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Anne Holt: Fear Not (2011)

Oslo fjord

This novel is the fourth in the Norwegian series with Johanne Vik and Adam Stubø as the husband and wife team, with Adam being the ‘gentle giant’ detective and Johanne, his wife who is an ex profiler with a nose for investigative leads.

Very soon in the novel, we are introduced to several different story threads:

Johanne´s vulnerable daughter, Kristiane, gets lost when the family participates in a wedding in Oslo, and if a mysterious stranger had not saved her, she might have been killed in front of the tram.

Bishop Eva Karin Lysgaard is found murdered on Christmas Eve in Bergen. She is a popular person, well known for her struggle to keep the church united despite the question of marriage of homosexuals.

The body of a seventeen-year-old asylum seeker is found in the harbour of Oslo. The young man was a prostitute, and soon after a homosexual woman disappears from a happy relationship.

Marcus Koll, affluent businessman, lives together with his partner Rolf and his son, Little Marcus. Beautiful and safe on the facade, but apparently Marcus fears he will be the next victim.

What do the crimes have in common? Are old family secrets behind all these crimes, or is the common denominator homosexuality? Johanne Vik is engaged in researching hate crime, and via her research she can point out the connection among the seemingly isolated events to the police.

There are many things to like in this series, but it seems to me that Holt has this tendency to involve Johanne and her children every time. Exciting for the characters, and fundamental to the storyline perhaps, but not very credible. But then it is fiction, isn’t it? So why quibble?

I guess that whilst I enjoyed this Anne Holt story, it does lack a little of the intensity I feel when I read the Hanne Wilhemson’s series. Perhaps I feel more for the character of Hanne, for her keen detective sense and her stoic, rigid and sometimes arrogant manner, than I do for Johanne Vik and Adam Stubo who seem to be awfully familiar to another couple in a similar detective series written by a Swedish crime writer.

If you are a Nordic crime fiction fan, you won’t be disappointed, but the bar is getting ever higherin the realms of Mordic crime fiction with many more excellent writers, emerging from the colder regions of the world, each year.

Rating: 7/10

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Something to Ponder About

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.

I hope you will too.

bikealbertlake

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit inGreek Proverb

People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks make about two big mistakes a year

Peter Drucker.

Peter Drucker, hitherto unheard of by me, (for clearly I have led a sheltered life – lol), was apparently an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings have come to be regarded as landmark foundations of the modern business management. Sufficiently interested?
Read more here

The proverb above has featured in many different forms, stating a similar sentiment.  I find it interesting to be ascribed as a Greek proverb. Have you heard this proverb before?

If so where?

And how does Peter Drucker’s words alter your perception of risk?

Something to Ponder About this Thursday

Proverbial sml

 

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last time – Argentina

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this week’s mystery photograph was taken, or what it is. If you guess correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.Monday Mystery

If you have a great photo that you think could mystify my readers, drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit your photograph to Monday Mystery Photo as guest contributions are always welcome.

Here is this week’s photograph with grateful thanks from Dr. L. Peach –

MMP april 4

Last time, I presented the final photo, (seen below), from the series from SnowMeltsSomewhere. The location of the photo was the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego, in Southern Argentina) with the background showing the snow-capped Martial Mountains.   This was an excellent photograph that even had some MMP Veterans confused.  It could have been Iceland, or Norway, but after much deliberation,   Millie who guessed correctly.Great effort, Millie!

Argentina

Argentina

Monday Mystery Photograph gives you Something to Ponder About

 

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Sayings

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

This week the proverb comes from a country I have not featured previously on Proverbial Thursday:

Life is a candle before the wind – Japanese Proverb

God has no religion – Gandhi

Does the Japanese proverb ring true for you?

What do you make of Gandhi’s words?

Proverbial sml

Something Proverbial to Ponder About

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WPress Challenge – Guernica by Andrea Heiberg

IMG_6867

We are hell bent on building walls……

IMG_20150502_144307Walls that take us on a desolate and dying path to nowhere…..

In an increasingly unpredictable and uncertain world, Andrea has so succinctly written how many feel in their hearts.
Inspiration for Daily Post.

Half-Light

Something to Ponder About

 

I am not a silent poet

A foreigner said to me
Fish or cat?
Mouse?

Who am I to tell him
we are watching Picasso and
man is no fish
neither are we cats
mice perhaps.

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Proverbial Thurs/ Friday – Quotes

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make me think more deeply about something. Each Thursday, I post  words that I find thought-provoking. I hope you will find them intriguing too.

wordaweekspray

This week, Proverbial Thursday is a little different, as I will post two quotes that are my response to the tragedy in Belgium –

“When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”
― Confucius

“The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin.”
― Confucius

What is the message Confucius is trying to convey about a man’s character? Is this the portrait of a “superior” man?

Does a characteristic you might revile, or dislike, in your neighbour help you to see your own faults?

Something to Ponder About

Proverbial sml

 

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