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About the Author

Marit Kapla grew up in Osebol in the 1970s. She has since served as a Creative Director for the Gothenburg Film Festival, and now works as one of two editors at the Swedish cultural magazine Ord & Bild. Osebol, her first book, was awarded Sweden's prestigious August Prize in 2019.


It is an unlikely subject for a bestseller. Yet in Sweden, the voices that have come from this ordinary little village have become like an existential meditation on what it is to be alive, to be human, creatures living in time while the river runs on and wolves howl in the woods ... Its specificity allows it to be universal. ... Garrulous, taciturn, gossipy, warm-hearted, reserved or matter-of-fact, a character speaks and then they slip quietly away ... we listen to them like something caught on the wind ... Why is this so moving and so strangely beckoning? I think precisely because Osebol bears witness to ordinary lives. It gives us, unmediated, the voices of people who are usually unheard and invites us to pay attention to small things. It's also a book ... about the many meanings of home ... what it is to put down roots and belong ... Compelling -- Nicci Gerrard * Observer *
Transporting ... It is particular in its focus on one place ... and universal in its reminders that nothing stays the same. You feel as though you're in among them -- Michael Kerr * Sunday Telegraph (Books of the Year) *
The year's most pleasing books have been those that delivered the most unexpected delights. Marit Kapla's Osebol (Allen Lane) renders the oral history of a small Swedish village since 1945 into verse. A variety of voices form a symphonic whole ruminating on seasons passing, people leaving and a way of life almost disappearing -- Rishi Dastidar * Guardian (Books of the Year) *
A fugue in many voices ... Osebol comes to life as the book progresses, like a dusty mosaic splashed with water ... [In] sudden shifts of tone, the book catches the rhythm of life itself ... Osebol is a magnificent success; it is hard to imagine it better, or even different - it exists on its own terms. Kapla is a magician. How can she be called 'the author' when not a word is hers? But it was she who crafted it, weighing themes and balancing light and shade ... The translator Peter Graves has miraculously maintained the original rhythm - or perhaps he has smelted Swedish phrases into English and forged a new one ... The book conjures the Welsh notion of hiraeth, that soul-deep longing for the landscape of home ... mesmerizing ... Osebol is a song of the ages -- Sara Wheeler * TLS *
Engrossing and humbling and quietly revelatory -- Max Porter
Osebol is a kind of simple, pared-back and down-to-earth masterpiece. I suspect that centuries from now it will be read and loved for the glimpse it gives into the lives of "ordinary" people in this moment in time. There aren't many books I am jealous of, and wish I had written ... but I really wish I had written this. I hope a lot of people read it and understand just how brilliant it is-- James Rebanks, author of English Pastoral
Osebol is a fascinating and revealing immersion in another culture and landscape. I was riveted by these life stories of young and old, especially the accounts of those who remember how things used to be - of picking berries in the forest and sharing the potato harvest. A wonderful read -- Lydia Davis, author of Essays and Essays Two

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