THE LAST LETTER HOME by Vilhelm Moberg


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Third in a trilogy started in 1951 with The Emigrants, and carrying the same characters from their hamlet in Sweden- their goals, aspirations- and the memory of their sins- to the territory of Minnesota, where they put down their roots and make new lives for themselves. Karl Oscar and Kristina have found what he had sought- a new and rich land, unburdened with debt- but for Kristina it meant endless child-bearing, endless postponement of her hopes for a less restricted way of life. Ultimately, when the acres are producing, and the stables and barns are filled, there is a new stove for Kristina, symbol of hope for the future. But for Karl Oscar's derelict brother, Robert, the gold fever became a bitter taste. Riddled with consumption, he returns home, thinking the $4,000 he brings in bills will help his brother- only to find they are wildcat currency and worthless. For Ulrika and her husband, who had left shame behind them, there is security and prosperity in the town- and for her, at last, a hostage to fortune in a son who will be a minister. It is a slow-paced story of peasants making America their home -- of the Territory opening up with the converting of the wilderness into farmlands- of the Civil War, somewhat remote and the Indian war, more frighteningly immediate, of love and death and the final severing of links with the old land. Folk material, regional in value, but somehow not as interesting as the two earlier volumes.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1961
ISBN: 0873513223
Publisher: Simon & Schuster