To Mervas is a turbulent journey through the wilderness of memory, domestic violence, and the vast gulf between lost lovers. After years of insulating herself from humanity in the wake of her disabled son’s death, Marta is jolted out of exile when a cryptic note arrives from Mervas, a ghost town deep in Sweden’s desolate northern wilds. The letter is from Kosti, her once-great love, shattering a silence of more than twenty years. When spring comes she sets off alone for Mervas, without any notion of who or what might await her there. Physical and emotional abuse, longing and loss, and the nature of love and redemption are explored with remarkable empathy and a visceral lyricism in Elizabeth Rynell’s stirring novel.
Elisabeth Rynell's language can only be described as breathtakingly beautiful.
— Upsala New Daily
Not a single false note rings in this sonata in minor.
— Swedish Daily News
Elisabeth Rynell is one of Sweden’s most intense and, for the lyrical clarity of her voice, most intensely appreciated storytellers in prose and verse. She never wastes words.
— Rika Lesser
Since Rynell is also an accomplished poet, it isn’t surprising that To Mervas at times reads like a novel in verse, a fluctuating meditation on the nature of life and living, a wonderfully complex metaphor for trying and failing and trying again.
— North Dakota Quarterly
Although not including incest this time, E. Rynell’s graphic descriptions of wife-battering are as harrowing here as in Hohaj. Just as impelling are her beautifully lyrical descriptions of nature, sometimes the frightening, majestic sweep of a huge, desolate landscape, and sometimes a kind of primavera as Marta’s reawakening emotions are reflected in nature.
— Swedish Book Review
The only way to enjoy a novel like this was to slow my reading pace right down and savour it, and I constantly found myself re-reading snippets just for the pleasure of it.
— Rachel Hayes in Belletrista
Rynell proves a fearless writer in this emotionally relentless work and finds a lyrical grace in Marta’s self-awareness.