Thursday, March 21, 2013

Linda Olsson's "The Memory of Love"

Linda Olsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1948. She graduated from the University of Stockholm with a law degree, and worked in law and finance until she left Sweden in 1986. What was intended as a three-year posting to Kenya then became a tour of the world with stops in Singapore, the U.K., and Japan, until she settled in New Zealand with her family in 1990. In 1993 she completed a bachelor of arts in English and German literature at Victoria University of Wellington. In 2003 she won the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition. Olsson's first novel Astrid & Veronika became an international success, selling hundreds of thousands of copies in Scandinavia, Europe and the United States. It was followed by the heartbreaking and moving Sonata for Miriam.

Here Olsson dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, The Memory of Love:
Because I write in English, rather than my native Swedish, I often get the question: When you write, do you think in English or in Swedish? I always reply that I don’t think in words, I think in pictures. Now, as two of my novels are under option to be made into films, it is a little like waiting for the re-make: I have already seen the original.

The Memory of Love was written here in New Zealand where I have lived for over twenty years. I have not severed the links with my native country, though, and it returns in my books, too. In The Memory of Love, one of the two main characters, Marion, was born in Åland, a cluster of islands in the Baltic, now a province of Finland. Like my character, I have fond memories of childhood summers there. Marion moves to Stockholm, where I was born and lived for almost forty years, and then on to London where I came to live for a few years in the late 80’s. And, just like me, she ends up in New Zealand. But unlike me, Marion settles in a remote, desolate place on the west coast. So, place is a central part of the casting of my film, in fact I think it is one of the main characters.

Marion is a woman without proper roots. She is insular and comes across as self-contained, I think. But she carries a weighty emotional burden. The little boy she encounters one day, Ika, is in many ways similar to Marion, shy and introvert, with poor social skills. But unlike Marion, he dares to reach out. When he physically throws himself in Marion’s way one day, his act comes to trigger an emotional journey for both of them.

In the background, there is George, a man whose life has been put on hold since the death of his wife. It is when he, too, gets pulled into Marion’s and Ika’s world that his life finally stirs again.

Here is my dream casting for the film based on The Memory of Love:

Marion -- Lena Endre

Swedish actress who projects the integrity and strength of character required for the part.

Ika -- Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu

Just how I saw Ika in my mind – shy and vulnerable, yet with an unbeatable inner strength. We may have to hurry up to get this film made, though, or he will be too old for the part.

George -- Harvey Keitel

One of my absolute favourite actors. I would like to see him in a part like this – requiring subtle acting and a measure of restraint. Oh, and I would really like to meet him!

With a cast like this, I think success is a given.
Learn more about the book and author at Linda Olsson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sonata for Miriam.

--Marshal Zeringue