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Children's Island by P. C. Jersild, Ross Shideler


Children's Island by P. C. Jersild, Ross Shideler

First published in Sweden in 1976, Children's Island increased the popularity and critical acclaim of its author, P. C. Jersild. The novel, which has sold more than 400,000 copies in Sweden alone, has been translated into French, German, Dutch, and Czechoslovakian. A film was made out of it. The University of Nebraska Press is the first to make available in English a book in some ways reminiscent of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Children's Island is told from the point of view of a ten-year-old boy, Reine Larsson, who succeeds in not going to summer camp. Reine stays home because time is running out: puberty, sexual desire, adulthood are threatening to rob him of the energy he needs to find the answers to life's dilemmas. He lulls his divorced mother into thinking he has gone to camp and confronts the task of supporting his love for McDonald's hamburgers. What he finds in Stockholm-a kind of Children's Island all its own-is a series of often hilarious adventures that help Jersild define contemporary society. It's a society of isolation, violence, and aggressive commercialism, a society actually much more threatening to Reine's psyche and well-being than the changes taking place within his own body. The revulsion he feels for his sexuality and that of others becomes symbolic of the alienation that defines the world Reine grows up in. Robert E. Bjork, general editor of the Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation series, calls Children's Island an extremely entertaining, extremely funny, and very serious book.

About the Author

The translator, Joan Tate, is distinguished for her original children's fiction and for her many translations of books both children and adults. Among her numerous translations of adult fiction is Winter's Child by Dea Trier Morch (UNP, 1986).

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Book Info

Publication date

1st November 1986


P. C. Jersild, Ross Shideler

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University of Nebraska Press


288 pages


Regional studies



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