OCCUPIED – Kurt Blorstad
Norway – 1936 to 1999
It's 1999 and a man and his son return to a Norwegian village to celebrate the man's seventieth birthday. They arrive at a special spot that evokes much emotion in the older man, and he finally reveals a story to his son that he's told few people.
Trygve and Thoralf, born in America, are in their parents' homeland of Norway after the Crash of 1929. While their father finds work in New York City to send for them, they, their mother, and younger brother are living with their paternal grandparents. But that is coming to an end as their mother wants to spend time with her family in another village before returning to the United States.
Trygve tells the story in his own words through his journal as the boys settle into life with their grandmother at her rural farm. The early parts of the book give readers a wonderful background of a peaceful, pre-war existence. The boys settle into their new life, learning how to farm from their uncle, attending a one room schoolhouse, finding jobs to help out with the family finances, and observing the world around them.
Trygve and his brother observe the building of an airstrip, and they have a bird's eye view of the harbor from a spot near their grandmother's house. But everyone must be careful not to be curious. Just how dangerous will this occupation become?
OCCUPIED is a riveting, poignant, and very entertaining story based on fact. Trygve's journal is detailed with not only everyday happenings, but personal reflections as well. He is a sensitive, loving son, but a young man with excellent observation skills. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale, and, in fact, read it in one sitting. I couldn't put OCCUPIED down and highly recommend this wonderful book.