04 Apr / The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, translated by Alice Menzies [in Library Journal]
At 28, Sara Lindqvist has more literary friends than real. She arrives in Iowa from Sweden, expecting to spend a few weeks with Amy Harris, an older woman with whom she’s exchanged three years of intimate letters and books. Alas, she’s arrived too late: Amy’s died.
For the good citizens of Broken Wheel, Sara is initially “the tourist,” a troublesome curiosity, but, slowly, Sara becomes a part of Amy’s fold through the people she loved and the books that mattered most to her. In a surprising decision to repay the townsfolk for their kindness, Sara honors her lost friend with an unusual bookstore, from which she carefully matches favorite titles with readers who need them most.
British actress Fiona Hardingham uses a wide range of accents and modulation to create Broken Wheel’s citizens, effortlessly voicing drawling locals, upstanding mavens, suffering victims, flamboyant outsiders. She gives Sara a Scandinavian-ish clip, while the omniscient narrator reads in poshly crisp British. Hardingham’s multiple personalities are gently interrupted by Lorelei King’s resonating voice as she intersperses Amy’s wise letters into Sara’s narrative. For literature lovers everywhere, this light, feel-great Swedish import has sly, clever lessons about good books in any language.
Published: 2013 (Sweden) 2016 (United States)