Seal Woman
by Solveig Eggerz
Ghost Road Press

"Pity me. For I have two children on the land and two in the sea."

Evading post-war calamity, Charlotte travels to Iceland in 1947 in response to an ad: "Farmers in Iceland seek strong women who can cook and do farm work." While the ad never mentions love, marriage, or children, she inevitably finds solace in the home and arms of Ragnar, an Icelandic man of few words. Charlotte carefully builds a new life and family, but she is divided by her past and present: her former life as an artist and her current life as a farmer; her native tongue and the foreign language she picks up haphazardly to survive; and, of course, the lingering dead and the living.

While Charlotte has abandoned post-World War II Germany, the phantom of her past has trailed her to the icy landscape, drawing her to Iceland's rocky shores again and again. The folkloric seal woman chooses a life on land, though she pines for the sea. She mothers her human children, while mourning the baby seals she's forsaken. She is gripped in two worlds, working her way toward an uncertain understanding of both the past and future.

Eggerz's novel is a fictional account of the over three hundred German men and women who traveled to Iceland for agricultural work in the years following World War II. An artful marriage of history and fiction, Eggerz's debut novel is both heartrending and inspiring. Through art, friendship, love, and forgiveness, Eggerz renders the healing process in an honest and profound way.

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