A good writer has died.
She was probably not someone you’ve heard of. At least if you aren’t a middle-aged woman raced in one of the Nordic countries. Have I really become that person? It seems like yesterday that I was fifteen and reading her stories.
Margit Sandemo was a Norwegian author, she became 94 years old and if the last interview I heard with her was any indicator she was still writing. She was one of these authors the white males in the big institutions, who speak of literature, had little respect for I’m afraid, but for me she was one of the greatest inspiration I ever had and she still is to this day.
She wrote what we here in Sweden call “tantsnusk” a little demeaningly, as is the tendency with female-oriented writing of certain sort. The word basically means “frumpfilth”. I’m sure there’s a similar word in English somewhere that I don’t know about… yet. Though she had epic tales just as astounding as many of the fantasy authors writing today, and she wrote female characters really, really well.
The books I know her mostly for are the epic series of 47 books named THE ICEPEOPLE about a Norwegian family with a special curse. You follow them from the 1500’s and till the epic ending of their battle with the evil forefather somewhere around WWII. The books are mostly about the family members that have inherited the evil curse and they are full of magic, ghosts, vampires, witches, demons, warlords, romance and epic battles. It is a story about good and evil, about people surviving despite the odds being against them and it’s about connections between people often mixed with a sense of eroticism.
I started reading these books as a teenager. I hadn’t been very interested in reading before that, but when the stories of the women in this family started to unravel I was hooked and it led me to the typewriter, pushed me even further towards this unimaginable goal of becoming a writer.
Margit Sandemo was a true inspiration to me. She wrote characters that were larger than life and she mixed known legends, religious myths and folklore into her stories without hesitation, – something I’ve always loved about her writing – she mixed these relentlessly and wasn’t afraid to find legends from far away and weave them into her stories.
One of my legends has died. One of the people who unknowingly inspired a big chunk of my life in a way that’s quite remarkable. I hope she lived a life as grand as her stories indicated!
May she rest in peace,