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On Midsummer's Eve, 1974, Annie Raft arrives with her daughter Mia in the remote Swedish village of Blackwater to join her lover Dan on a nearby commune. On her journey through the deep forest, she sumbles upon the site of a grisly double murder--a crime that will remain unsolved for nearly twenty years, until the day Annie sees her grown daughter in the arms of one man she glimpsed in the forest that eerie midsummer night.
Like Gorky Park and Smilla's Sense of Snow, Blackwater is a unique trhiller in which the hearts and minds of the characters are as strikingly compelling as the exotic northern landscape that envelops them.
the bed in that winter-night dark room. ‘It can fill me with great affection. It is so fragile and temporary. It might burn down in a couple of hours one night when thunder rumbles over the mountain. But it keeps the fiercest cold out. Did you know we had thirty-six degrees of frost last winter? And it keeps out the rain rattling on its metal roof, furiously on autumn nights. Wait till you hear it.’ Wait till you hear it. That was how he found out that she also thought they would go on being
radio valves. Earplugs. Yes, they were earplugs, here, where the silence at night was profound. The dirty yellow material looked like foam rubber. A bench for carding flax. He had seen one like it at the Folklore Museum. Stools, mosquito windows, a pedestal, a wooden club, an awl, tacks, shoelaces, lids of preserving jars. ‘What are you looking for?’ said Mia. He shook his head. He hadn’t known it before she asked, but he was looking for a box of cartridges. ‘Nothing,’ he said. ‘Don’t sit here
watch the feature film first. Perhaps you’d like to watch it as well.’ So Annie had to sit down in an armchair by the coffee table. Mia clambered up on her knee and soon lost interest in the film. Instead, she looked round this room full of objects that must have seemed strange to her. Lots of animals, embroidered, carved or made of glass or pottery. As the woman fetched a cup and poured out coffee, she tried not to take her eyes off the screen, where a familiar actor was moving about in a
dried milk, sticky with damp. The cocoa he made was watery, but at least hot. The biscuits tasted of the cottage. What a bloody hassle just to get a bit of warmth and something to eat! The sun had risen as he crawled under the quilts. All this time, the eel had lain writhing in its shirt parcel; Johan forgot all about it until he was well bedded down. He got up, untied the shirtsleeves and let the eel down into the bucket of water. For a while its long glossy body thrashed around and the water
drank too much at dinner and particularly afterwards. He woke alone in front of the television on the upper landing, and the bedroom door was shut. They had still said nothing about what had happened. She cleaned and he tried to explain what had befallen the indoor plants. In the evening, she wanted them to sit in the living room and he recognised at once almost everything she said from those desperate early spring days. She kept talking about people with whom she had things in common, people