Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Karen Engelmann's "The Stockholm Octavo"

In Karen Engelmann's The Stockholm Octavo, Emil Larsson is a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town—a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor—until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. Set against the luminous backdrop of late eighteenth-century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe, the novel brings together a collection of characters, both fictional and historical, whose lives tangle in political conspiracy, love, and magic.

Here Engelmann shares some suggestions for casting an adaptation of the novel:
Here’s the weird thing: a few weeks ago I actually had a phone conversation with a producer interested in optioning the book. “What actress do you think should play Mrs. Sparrow?” he asked.

It took me a few seconds to reply, surprised he wanted my opinion. “Well, I always imagined Kristin Scott Thomas. She’s a fabulous actress, the perfect age, looks Swedish and speaks French.”

“She is fabulous,” the producer noted. “I just did a movie with her. Ryan Gosling played her son.”

Ryan Gosling!!!???” I squealed, serious novelist dissolving into tabloid junkie. “Ryan Gosling can have any part he wants…”

That ended the discussion, and rightfully so. I love going to the movies, but otherwise have a ridiculously limited and naive view of the film business. Let the professionals do their job! However, this does not mean that I cannot create my fantasy cast from the daydreaming comfort of my sofa, bowl of popcorn at hand. Here is my Seeker, the Eight from his Octavo, and several other key roles.

Emil Larsson — narrator, customs officer and man of the Town: Ryan Gosling, of course!

Mrs. Sofia Sparrow — card shark and cartomancer: Kristin Scott Thomas.

The Uzanne — Baroness and villainess: Laura Linney.

Johanna Bloom — runaway apothecaire: Emma Watson.

Anna Maria Plomgren — tempestuous army widow: Noomi Rapace.

King Gustav III — monarch of Sweden: Stellan Skarsgård.

Duke Karl — the king’s younger brother and rival: Michael Nyqvist.

Master Fredrik Lind — calligrapher and social climber: James Callis.

Captain Hinken — smuggler: Peter Stormare.

Christian Nordén — fan maker, refugee from the French Revolution: Simon Baker.

Margot Nordén — Christian’s French wife: Marion Cotillard.

Lars Nordén — Christian’s younger brother: Alexander Skarsgård.

Mrs. Murbeck — Emil’s landlady: Lena Olin.

Old Cook: Beryl Patmore, of course.

I cannot wait to get their autographs!
Learn more about the book and author at Karen Engelmann's website.

Writers Read: Karen Engelmann.

The Page 69 Test: The Stockholm Octavo.

--Marshal Zeringue