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New book about Sweden is inspiration for travel


“Smile of a Midsummer Night” by Lars Gustafsson and Agneta Blomqvist
A lyrical new book has been published about Sweden in English, whose colourful descriptions will certainly inspire travel to explore hidden parts of the country and would be useful background reading for any agents selling trips to Sweden.
“Smile of a Midsummer Night: A picture of Sweden” (Haus Publishing, 2015) is written by author Lars Gustafsson and his wife Agneta Blomqvist, a teacher of literature. It’s not so much a travel guide as an evocative read for “the dreamy visitor”, its short chapters taking in landscapes and experiences from the south of Sweden to the north.
Also published in German (“Das Lächeln der Mittsommernacht”), it’s not a coffee-table book full of photographs but a pocket-sized reader, easy to carry around on an excursion through the country.
The book’s heart is in the natural surroundings, in the broad, expansive countryside rather than in the urban jungle. It starts beside the old thatched farmhouses of Skåne, visits the “magical” city of Jönköping, lingers beside Lake Mälaren, and finishes in the far north where there are rivers “as wide as the Danube” and “as mighty as the Rhine”.
There are touching personal experiences including, after a dangerous path, the discovery under a fir tree’s sheltering branches of “shining patches of gold” – huge yellow chanterelles beautiful in their perfection. A basket is soon half full of them.
Written in the first person, it’s hard to know who’s writing what, but this adds a certain charm – that the book is written by a couple who are clearly very close – and the same friendly, observant, humble tone is maintained throughout. It also makes the book accessible, in that the reader can imagine who he or she wants to doing the exploring – Lars, Agneta or both.
TTG Nordic


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