Author: Ulla-Lena Lundberg

Stories in the stone

2 December 2010 | Extracts, Non-fiction

Extracts from Jägarens leende. Resor in hällkonstens rymd (‘Smile of the hunter. Travels in the space of rock art’, Söderströms, 2010)

‘Why do some people choose to expend what is often a great deal of effort hammering images in the bedrock itself, while others conjure up, in the blink of an eye, brilliantly radiant pictures on a rock-face that was empty yesterday but is now peopled by mythological animals, spirits and shamans?

‘I think about this often – I who love painting but who still chose a career that involves me sitting and hammering away, day in and day out, like a true rock-carver,’ writes author and ethnologist Ulla-Lena Lundberg in her new book on the art of the primeval man

When the children of Israel went into Babylonian captivity, hanging up their harps on the willow-trees and weeping as they remembered Zion, my sister and I were already sitting by the rivers of Babylon. We knew how they felt. Our father was dead and we had been sent away from our home. We sat there clinging to each other, or rather I was the one clinging to Gunilla, and she had to try to rouse herself and find something for us to do, to give us something else to think about. More…

A life at the front

Issue 3/2001 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Marsipansoldaten (‘The marzipan soldier’, Söderström & Co., 2001). Introduction by Maria Antas

[Autumn 1939]

Göran goes off to the war as a volunteer and gives the Russians one on the jaw. Well, then. First there is training, of course.

Riihimäki town. Recruit Göran Kummel billeted with 145 others in Southern elementary school. 29 men in his dormitory. A good tiled stove, tolerably warm. Tea with bread and butter for breakfast, substantial lunch with potatoes and pork gravy or porridge and milk, soup with crispbread for dinner. After three days Göran still has more or less all his things in his possession. And it is nice to be able to strut up and down in the Civil Guard tunic and warm cloak and military boots while many others are still trudging about in the things they marched in wearing. The truly privileged ones are probably attired in military fur-lined overcoats and fur caps from home, but the majority go about in civilian shirts and jackets and trousers, the most unfortunate in the same blue fine-cut suits in which they arrived, trusting that they would soon be changing into uniform. More…

The anchor

Issue 1/1990 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from the novel Leo (Söderströms, 1989). Introduction by Marianne Bargum

A summer quickly goes by and the beginning of autumn rolls merrily away. The middle of October is the time when things start slackening off, the harvest over, the flax brought in and the time for slaughter approaching. It is growing darker and the storm rumbles over the village, howling even more wildly out there in the darkness where the ships are gradually beginning to struggle home.

In stormy weather, we become touchy and angry. We think about those out there, and are irritated by minor matters people safe on the mainland make such a furore about. We conscientiously go to church the nearer autumn looms, and there we pray ardently for all those in peril on the sea. But then we have the pastor in the pulpit, irritable and angry like the rest of us, and he takes the opportunity to give us a reminder.

‘Out there in the storm the skipper calls on God, but when the storm dies down, he gives thanks for his own skill’, he begins. So you can work out what is to follow. Not very edified, we make our way home in the mud, in the cold wind, a shoulder like a wedge ahead of us. More…