For poverty-stricken farm labourer Jan, the birth of his daughter Klara gives life a new meaning; his devotion to her develops into an obsession that excludes all else. We are taken from the miracle of a newborn child and a father’s love of his baby girl into a fantasy world emerging as a result of extreme external pressures, in which Jan creates for himself the role of Emperor of Portugallia. Yet this seemingly mad world generates surprising insights and support. Described as ‘perhaps the most private of Selma Lagerlöf’s books’, the novel takes us deep into a father-daughter relationship that carries the seeds of tragedy within it almost from the start.
Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) quickly established herself as a major author of novels and short stories, and her work has been translated into close to 50 languages. Most of the translations into English were made soon after the publication of the original Swedish texts and have long been out of date. This Norvik Press series, ‘Lagerlöf in English’, provides English-language readers with high-quality new translations of a selection of the Nobel Laureate’s most important texts.