This book is the story of a murder trial involving a young, eighteen-year-old girl. The author uses the technique of three narratives in telling his story.
There is the girl’s father, a Pastor and a man dedicated to the truth; her mother, a criminal defense lawyer; and of course Stella Sandell, the lady on trial. The technique, employed quite successfully by Edvardsson, is to utilize three separate sections of the novel, each dedicated to the thoughts and actions of the three people involved. Each part supplies the reader with different facts making up the plot and certainly causes many changes of opinion as the novel progresses.
Stella is a girl that certainly has her own mind and is more than a little rebellious. She is a student reaching the end of high school with the one ambition of taking a trip of several months to Asia. Important to her, and to the story, is her best friend who has been with her almost all of her short life. Amina, her friend, is the exact opposite of her, immersed in studies with the intention of becoming a doctor.
Both Stella and Amina have drifted into a relationship with a man fifteen years older than they are. Each tries to keep her role with him apart and attempting to keep the other thinking that they are not involved with him. It is this man that is killed and circumstances put the blame on Stella. She is arrested and brought to trial.
The strength of the story is the steady building up of suspense and the maintaining of the flow keeping the reader glued to the novel. While it was written in Swedish and takes place in a small city in Sweden, the translation is an excellent one allowing the nuances of the English I read it in to be quite clear. A definite five star novel and one showcasing the work of an author at the top of his game.
6/19 Paul Lane
A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY by M.T. Edvardsson. Celadon Books (June 25, 2019). ISBN 978-1250204431. 400p.