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NPR Arts & Life

Brief, Bright And Beautiful: Three Books On Nordic Summer

The far north of Europe, where I come from, is supposed to be the Mecca of melancholy. And yet there's a contradiction to our famous Nordic gloom: the Nordic countries are as much associated with light as with darkness. From our folklore to our folk songs to our literature, the Arctic summer light pierces our darkest tales. The season is almost like a religion to us.

Our summers are as brief as they are beautiful, beginning, peaking and fading away in a few sweet weeks. Up by the polar circle, where the sun never sets all season, summer gets especially intense — like the recollection of our childhood summers, filled with magical ambiance. In these three books, Nordic summers play a starring role: light grants the darkness nuances, just like the darkness gives the light a special luster.

Anne Swärd's latest novel isBreathless .

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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