Gotland tells the story of Esther, when due to the death of a friend, her husband is suddenly thrust into leadership of the political party he is a member of. Esther is very uncomfortable with the sudden change, both within David’s professional life and how it effects him and their family. In this middle of all of this, Esther journey’s to Gotland, Sweden’s largest island to spend time with her sister Ros and Ros’ friend Sven (Sven is the token mysterious stranger, he sounds rugged, in the way that all mysterious strangers ought to be).
I really enjoyed reading this book, I loved the interaction between Esther and her daughter Kate, Kate leading an almost-double life with being a talented street artist and a politician’s daughter. I loved how wistful the narrative was, how the author managed to express just how unhappy Esther is with the sudden responsibility of being in the public eye. There are lots of themes touched upon in this book; I felt Esther being a politician’s wife was more of a metaphorical idea rather than an literal one, of how a woman’s role within a marriage is often expected to be one of support, where she has to give up or put her career on hold to further her husband’s career.
I lost track of what was happening between Esther and David towards the end, and I had to re-read the last couple of chapters to get clarification, it seemed to be a bit of an odd ending that came out of nowhere, so although I really enjoyed reading the book, now that I’ve finished it I’m left not feeling 100% happy with it. It certain does make you think.