Häxan – The Witch
by Camilla Läckberg
When the four-year old Linnea disappears from a farm outside of Fjällbacka, it brings back tragic memories. Thirty years earlier a little girl disappeared from the exact same farm and was later found murdered. At the time, two thirteen-year-old girls were accused of abducting and killing the girl. They were found guilty in court, but avoided prison because of their age. One of them has since been living a quiet life in Fjällbacka. The other, now a celebrated actress, has just returned for the first time since the event, playing the role of Ingrid Bergman in a film that is to be recorded in the area.
The Fjällbacka residents organize the extensive search for Linnea, and finally find her, naked, next to the same pond where the first girl was found. Fear starts spreading in the small community. Could more girls to be in danger?
Although Patrik Hedstrom believes the truth is always more straight forward than the rumours and speculation, he and his colleagues at Tanumshede police investigate the connection between the two cases. They get help from Erica Falck, who has long been working on a book about the old murder. The investigation reopens many old wounds and the residents’ fear of the unknown results in terrible consequences.
ABOUT THE BOOK
First published by Forum, April 2017
Catalan, Ara Llibres
Czech Republic, Albatros Media
Denmark, People’s Press
France, Actes Sud
The Netherlands, Ambo Anthos
Poland, Czarna Owca
Portugal, Dom Quixote
Romania, Editura Trei
“The Witch” [is] also a book that cleverly connects three timetables and draws interesting thematic parallels. … Läckberg convincingly and scary depicts how each time holds its own witch processes, while creating a sheer page turner despite its 600 pages.
I am delighted to read the story of the little girls who disappear thirty years apart. Was it other children who killed the first girl? Are the new killers new arrivals in the refugee settlement? In the periphery of the story, two lonely young people meet. Läckberg tells us about a contemporary Sweden with ordinary people.
Läckberg’s storytelling is flowing and unrestrained.
She is doing well with the fortelling of the young and liable couple Jessie and Sam. /…/ Jessie’s desperate longing for being accepted and well-liked really hurts, like Sam’s knowledge that what he cares about will be exploited once more. There is a darkness over society in general and Fjällbacka in particular. “Häxan” is a dark story in a number of ways: more violent than one could imagine and where children and young people suffer the worst.
[There are] many strings that Läckberg weave together and the story has an incredible drive on all fronts.
Kulturnytt i P4
The present-day depiction is told alongside with a shocking depiction of the 1670s, the time of witches. The people could be outrageously evil already then, but it’s not better today. The parallels become visible. … The dissolution is a dramatic and bloody story in this multifaceted and exciting book.