Friday, October 12, 2018


Shell: A NovelShell by Kristina Olsson

     I don’t think there is an iconic image that identifies a place more than the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia.  It wasn’t always so, it wasn’t always accepted.  There was a time when it was just being built and public opinion wasn’t so positive.
     In the mid 1960’s everything was changing. There was a war in Vietnam and Australia was adopting a draft system that, understandably so, was not well received.  Pearl was a reporter embracing the change and protesting in the streets to defend her right to do that, putting her career at risk.  She had a vested interest in not wanting the draft.  Her younger brothers were just the age that would be sent to war.  She hasn’t seen either of them in many years because they ran away from the boarding school they were sent to when their mother died.  Pearl’s guilt in not trying harder for them is making her desperate to do this one thing she feels she CAN do. 
     Axel Lindquist is newly arrived from Sweden and specifically charged with the artistic glass work for the Sydney Opera House. He is under the charge of the architect Jorn Utzon but Utzon hasn’t been seen in awhile.   Axel left Sweden and the shadow of World War II’s effect on the country and Axel and his mother. He is hoping this new country will renew him and his art.
Casting off the shadow of the old giving way to the new, the changing times, the war just ended and the new one gaining strength and a foothold, the new and ultra modern opera house, it can be hard to find your place. 
      The author says that she didn’t write because she knows something, she writes because she doesn’t know and with Shell, she taught me.

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