Earwigs and Starlight

Mirja Unge

Original Title
Tvestjärtar och stjärnljus
Natur & Kultur, Stockholm 2016
Fiction 6-9

Earwigs and Starlight

Mirja Unge

Time stands still when eight-year-old Fanny is waiting for her friends Jon and Finn to move into their summer house for the holidays. Fanny is the only one in the area who lives there all year round. The brothers Jon and Finn come from the city, of which Fanny does not want to know anything about, because she wants to pretend that they exist only when they are with her.

Fanny’s home is all in order, secure and yes, a bit boring. In Jon and Finn’s place stuff happens all the time, not least because their mother brings with her a new man every summer. This summer it’s Reinhold, a writer with a big belly, who is a little too fond of beer. Yet, he has a big heart and is always on the children’s side. He takes the time to accompany them to the lake, lets the mosquitoes bite his big body while the children are playing and quite unexpectedly, can pick up a rock crystal from his pocket and give it to Fanny in that very moment she needs it the most.

When Fanny, Jon and Finn are together everything happens at lightning speed – starlight and campfires, morning fog and diving from the pier, bike rides and scratched knees. There’s too little time, but just enough to fall in love.

Press voices

“(…) the melancholy and the rural stillness are not different from Unge’s adult books, and I connect to her language in the same way.” Göteborgs-posten

“Mirja Unge has written a fantastic summer holiday depiction, full of scratched knees and dives from piers.” Nerikes Allehanda

“Summer holidays are rarely so flawless and pastel colored as the last day of school would have us to believe, but full of dusty roads, boredom and – in Mirja Unge’s children’s book debut - adults who drink too much. Earwigs and Starlight is warm and sincere holiday-cabin-realism seen with a child’s eyes.” Svenska Dagbladet

“Mirja Unge is a playwright and she knows that not everything needs to be explicit. Here one finds a skintight portrayal, that is unusual in both children’s and adult literature. The text smells, sometimes really stinks, of real life. Certainly there is love between Fanny and Jon but that feeling embraces also Fanny's desire to belong to something other than what her own secure, but somewhat boring, everyday life offers.” Dagens Nyheter

“It is a poetic and poignant story of friendship and powerlessness. The characters are temperamental and although the adults make some wrong choices there is both willingness to change and a light ending.” Smålandsposten