The Land of the Fern

The Land of the Fern

Elin Bengtsson

Original Title
Natur & Kultur 2016
Young adult
Rights Sold

The Land of the Fern

Elin Bengtsson

Mika, I want to know what you’ve done. To forget about us. Give me the recipe.
The rows of bunk beds, fitted sheets, the smell of leather, skin.
Have you become a man now? Marching with one hand on the gun and the other on the crotch.
Despite we promised to each other that we would be different, what nobody imagined would exist.
No men or women. Just steel.

When Margit gets off the train at Malmö Central Station, she has no idea where to go. She only knows that it’s impossible to stay at home, in the silence after Mika. Mika who left her on the pile of cushions in the tool shed and told her that they must get away from each other. That the forbidden between them, that no one was supposed to know about, has to end.
Outside Margit’s and Mika’s symbiotic world, Margit doesn’t know where she belongs. It’s only in the darkness inside her head, where it’s still Mika and her against the world, that she knows who she is.

But Malmö is making constant attempts to break through her paralysis and alienation: there is Ina with her steel blue eyes and sharp tongue, the placards she hangs on the electrical boxes and the slogans she writes on the buildings, looking at Margit in a special way. And Paco, with all his theories and his soft smile. But the closer Ina and Paco get and the more she becomes part of a new, activist community, the greater Margit’s fear of her and Mika’s secret being revealed becomes. That the insects that move at the roots will come up to the light.
The Land of the Fern is a strong, vertiginous novel about losing someone. About the rules about who may love whom and how, and the need to create one’s own spaces, where life can take a new shape.

August Prize 2016, Nominee

The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize 2017, Nominee

Press voices 

Elin Bengtsson has written an extremely strong novel that remains under the skin, at the roots of what is to be human.” Dagens Nyheter

It is exciting, touching, insightful, linguistically elegant, well, really very good.” Borås Tidning

With a poetic and symbolic language she widens and challenges one’s view on sexuality and what kind of love can and cannot exist” The August Prize Jury’s motivatiion

Written about Elin Bengtsson’s debut, Between Winter and Heaven  (2013):

Arguably one of this year’s strongest youth novels” Smålandsposten

(…) passages that are so painfully beautiful that you will need to gasp for breath” Svenska Dagbladet