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Mette Jakobsen

When Anne Shirley dreamed of finding a ‘bosom friend’ in Avonlea, she did more than conjure Diana Barry into existence. The heroine of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (1908) imprinted on us an almost impossible standard for what to expect from our earliest female friendships: a lifelong source of joy sustained by a mutual devotion to each other’s best interests. More often than not, however – as the popularity of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels attests – childhood friendships are as complicated as any other. And when they rupture, whether through accident, argument, or design, the aftershocks can last well into adulthood.

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The début novel from Danish-born, Australia-based author Mette Jakobsen resembles a riddle: a tiny island in the middle of the ocean battered by wind, snow, and rain, sometime after the war; three men, a girl, a dog, a dead boy, a missing woman.