Monday, January 26, 2009
Thoughts of Norway
I just finished reading The Klipfish Code, a middle grade novel about a young girl who, along with her younger brother, is sent to live with her teacher aunt and fisherman grandfather after the Germans bomb Norway in 1940. Though Norway was occupied for five long years, Norwegian resistance efforts were strong. For refusing to teach Nazi propaganda, one of ten teachers was sent to a concentration camp. Marit is troubled that her grandfather seems unwilling to "rock the boat" and stand up to the Germans, even after her aunt (his daughter) is taken away one day. But when Marit happens upon a wounded Norwegian soldier, her own fear of what could happen if the Germans caught her assisting him almost causes her to turn her back on the man. Somehow she finds the courage to hide him, and to finish the mission he begs her to take on. The last few chapters had my adrenalin flowing, they were so gripping and suspenseful. The author, Mary Casanova, lives in Minnesota. Her ancestors are Norwegian. Though mine are not, I feel a special connection to Norway these days because my daughter is living in Oslo.
For those of you who also have adult children living far away, I feel a special sympathy. It's not easy. But with email, text-messaging, and Skype, staying in touch is not as hard as it once was. And it was wonderful to have both Emily and her Norwegian boyfriend Vegard here for Christmas. Vegard was thrilled with our (uncharacteristically) big snowfall because "a white Christmas is the way it should be." Next June my husband and I will be spending two weeks in Norway--our second trip there--and we look forward this time to meeting Vegard's family and seeing more of the country outside of Oslo. By the way, I'm told that in Norway the saying goes: "When the cat's away, the mice dance on the table." I love that!