Irish echo in the heart of Sweden

Las is More bookshop logo
Las is More secondhand bookshop in Goteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden - Facebook post on book by Ewa Młynarczyk
A post about Ewa's book (Läs Is More FB)
Läs is More bookshop in Gotheburg
Läs Is More, photo by Stephanie Coughlan

Ewa’s book is forming new ripples, ever-growing circles. At first, these were narrow circles of fingerprints, timidly imprinted on the keyboard with every word that Ewa wrote down. Then wider circles of tree rings, carried by echoes from the bottom of the paper, by “the memory of trees”, which absorbed the printer’s ink, and then the stream of words — poured drop by drop into oceans of other people’s thoughts — began to stagger water circles on them. In time, the inward movement turned into an upward movement, and the book’s flaps unfolded by its readers transformed into bird’s wings. The winged words began to circle over the water and the ground, making even wider circles that, from a bird’s eye view, now resemble this map:

Among the points marked on it, the antiquarian bookshop with English-language literature Läs Is More* in Gothenburg deserves special attention. It is one of the few places outside Poland and the British Isles where Ewa’s book has found its place. How did it happen? This story, like every story described on this site, started with a spark of kindness that initiated the sequence of beautiful events. The reply to the message I sent to Stephanie Coughlan, the owner of the bookshop, came back in a flash, and the tone was uplifting: “Oh my gosh, absolutely!”. At the same time, it turned out that the green dominant of the interior design evoked in me, not coincidentally, associations with the Emerald Isle — for Stephanie is an American with Irish citizenship who studied English literature in Cork, and destiny brought her to Sweden, where she opened Läs Is More. One would like to say: Läs Inis Mór**. The green antiquarian bookshop in Gothenburg became, in this way, a kind of spiritual exclave of Ireland, and a dream location for Ewa’s book, especially that one of its main heroes is W.B. Yeats. 

I am sure that among Stephanie’s carefully selected antiquarian gems, more than one encounter between eras, between dimensions, between words will come to fruition… I look with emotion at the virtual shelf in the Classics category on the website: Right next to Ewa’s book — next to “Ewa of Avalon” — there was “Anne of Avonlea”, her beloved heroine.

Sweden brings together many of Ewa’s passions and interests. After all, her fascination with Nordic culture is reflected in her book, and Scandinavian mythology provides one of the essential contexts for her analysis of the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, Algernon Charles Swinburne, William Morris and William Butler Yeats. Ewa — with a truly Wittgensteinian flair — also explored the secrets of the Swedish language, although she jokingly asserted that she had mastered it to the same degree as the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. But the most tender strings in her heart were touched by youthful musical sentiments carried by long-playing echoes from Sweden. It was ABBA — besides Clannad — that played the melody of being in her soul. Out of curiosity, I checked whether any of the members of her beloved band was born in Gothenburg — and was delighted to discover that they were: Björn Kristian Ulvaeus! In his biographical note, however, I noticed something else: “He has a sister, Eva-Margareta”. This combination of Ewa’s and my first name (actually the reversal of my names, as my middle name is Ewa) in this touching context, once again allowed me to experience magical realism not only in the act of reading. 

For now, it remains to wait until one of the visitors of Läs Is More hears the melodious whisper coming from the depths of the shelf: “Take a chance on me” and spots Ewa’s book, giving it another life.

PS 🙂

* The name refers to the English saying “Less is more”, with the Swedish word Läs meaning “to read”.
Inis Mór — the largest island of the Aran archipelago off the west coast of Ireland.

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