Being a third-generation Norwegian, I have never given much thought to what Norway was like in the 1880s. I just finished “Searching for Nora” by Wendy Swallow, which explores the class structure and male dominance of the Norwegian society from a woman’s point of view. In this historical novel, Swallow follows an early feminist who has to leave Norway and finds herself living in a sod house in western Minnesota. By 1910, she is living in Seattle and looks back on her life. The author spent 10 years researching Norway, the passage over, and the hardships of living on the Minnesota frontier. Swallow picks up on Nora, the main character in Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House,” and creates a plausible journey for her. This is the gripping immigration story told from a grandmother’s point of view.
Mark Odegard, Minneapolis
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