Gotland by Fiona Capp

In 2009, Fiona Capp spent part of a summer at the Baltic Writers and Translators Centre in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland. Her time there has provided an exotic and compelling backdrop for her new novel.

Esther is a primary school teacher, confident and sure in her profession and her ability to relate to her pupils. Yet this confidence belies a long-standing social reticence. Esther has married her lover from her university days, David, a charismatic student politician who went on to forge a successful academic career. David was later persuaded by his old friend and mentor, Gerald, the leader of the country’s opposition party, to embark on a political career.

When Gerald suddenly dies, David is seen as ‘the honest broker’ who can cut through the political cant and lead the party out of its wilderness. While pleased for David, Esther is apprehensive about his ability to maintain the values that they share. Moreover, she’s doubly anxious about taking on a prominent public role. The polls point to a certain win for David’s party, a victory that will no doubt result in even more pressure. Then Esther’s older sister Ros, a successful UK-based criminal lawyer, invites her to spend a few weeks on the remote island of Gotland. For Esther, it is a chance to grab some anonymity and reassess her future.

Gotland is a lovely, gentle novel that nevertheless confronts some pretty big ideas. A very rewarding read.

Mark Rubbo

Cover image for Gotland


Fiona Capp

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