Readers' Favorite

September 19, 2012

From the TBR Pile: The American Girl

If you listened to the radio show Friday night, I mentioned this book.

The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm
In 1969, a young girl makes a trip from Coney Island to the swampy coastland on the rural outskirts of Helsinki, Finland. There, her death will immediately become part of local mythology, furnishing boys and girls with fodder for endless romantic imaginings. Everyone who lives near the swamp dreams about Eddie de Wire, the lost American girl. . . . For both Sandra and Doris, two lonely, dreaming girls abandoned in different ways by their parents, this myth will propel them into their coming-of-age through mischievous role-playing games of love and death, in search of hidden secrets, the mysteries of the swamp, and the truth behind Eddie’s death. The girls construct their own world, their own language, and their own rules. But playing adult games has adult consequences, and what begins as two girls just striking matches leads to an inferno that threatens to consume them and tear their friendship apart.

Crime mystery and gothic saga, social study and chronicle of the late sixties and early seventies, a portrait of the psyche of young girls on the cusp of sexual awakening, The American Girl is a bewitching glimpse of the human capacity for survival and for self-inflicted wounds. Fagerholm is a modern-day heir to the William Faulkner heritage of family tragedy, with a highly musical and literary prose style that is rich with wit and literary allusions. The American Girl will teach you the meaning of trust as you give yourself entirely to the original storytelling style of Monika Fagerholm.
paperback, 507 pages
Published February 2010 by Other Press
ISBN13: 9781590513040

About the Author:
Monika Fagerholm’s much-praised first novel, Wonderful Women by the Sea, became one of the most widely translated Scandinavian literary novels of the mid-nineties and was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 1998 it was followed by the cult novel Diva, which won the Swedish Literature Society Award. Her third novel, The American Girl, became a number-one best seller and won the premier literary award in Sweden, the August Prize, as well as the Aniara Prize and the Gothenburg Post Award. From

Praise for The American Girl:

"It’s a radioactive fairy tale, with adults known only by nicknames (the Black Sheep, the baroness) and facts twisted into fantasies." ~ California Literary Review  

"There is something fresh, new, and original that made up for the meandering." ~ Maya,

"The plot is thrilling and narration is just beautiful." ~ Insomnica,

Get the Reading Guide from 

Buy at IndieBound and Amazon.

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