Thursday, November 22, 2012

"The Stockholm Octavo"

Karen Engelmann is a writer and designer. She was born and raised in the American Midwest, then moved to Sweden after completing university studies in drawing and design. The city of Malmö was home base for eight years, but she now lives just north of New York City.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Stockholm Octavo, and reported the following:
The covers of The Stockholm Octavo might clap shut with a bang if it was subjected to the page 69 test — a scene between the narrator Emil Larsson and Mrs. Sparrow, a cartomancer who has a primary role in the novel. Unless, of course, the reader is intrigued by the notion of the Octavo, the fortunetelling spread at the center of their conversation. Emil and Mrs. Sparrow are laying a card and talking of romance, which might also be appealing to some, and there is the added bonus of an illustration: a beautiful card from the unique deck used in the process. But the Octavo itself is not the heart of the story, although it provides the narrative structure, and TSO is not a romance novel. The protagonist is on a journey that leads to love and connection in a larger sense, but he also encounters politics, poison, runaways, rivalry, refugees, revolution, obsessed collectors, cross-dressers, folding fans and a killer masquerade ball at the Stockholm Opera house in 1792. I really hope the reader looks at the front flap first!
Learn more about the book and author at Karen Engelmann's website.

Writers Read: Karen Engelmann.

--Marshal Zeringue