Posts with the category ‘Nora’s Story’


Nora’s New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s resolutions are as old as the Romans (according to Wikipedia), so it’s likely that Nora Helmer might have considered some self-improvement around this time of the year. The image above is of a New Year’s resolution card from 1915, and I love how it starts with the statement “I will this day try to live a simple, sincere and serene life.” If my character Nora were to adopt a New Year’s resolution, the idea of living a sincere life would be a good place for her to start. Telling the truth is her particular challenge: she’s a quick… 


Missing Family Stories

When you write a novel, you never know what readers will take away from it. A reader recently thanked me for my book Searching for Nora because of my focus on the Norwegian immigrant prairie experience. She was grateful because she knew little about her own family history beyond the fact that they had emigrated from Norway to Minnesota in the late nineteenth century. She said her grandmother, who might have been a font of family lore, had been reduced to a “silent, little old lady” by the time my reader met her. Unfortunately, the reader’s grandfather didn’t communicate much,… 


Channeling Ibsen

The very first word of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, the play my book is built upon, is “hide.” Nora Helmer, the heroine, is talking about hiding the Christmas tree from the children. But that one word opens a door to how she prevaricates, shades the truth and masquerades as a silly, incompetent wife. Indeed, as the play unspools, it’s clear that all the main characters are hiding things from each other. This gap between appearance and what is actually true grows with each act, and finally splits the Helmer’s marriage apart. The entire disaster starts with that single command,… 


Historical Fiction and Disappearing Birds

When I was working on my novel Searching for Nora: After the Doll’s House, I spent many hours driving around the beautiful open prairie of western Minnesota and the Dakotas. I grew quite enchanted by the land, with its huge bowl of sky and tall grass dancing in the wind. I was particularly fond of the birds I spotted – goldfinch, grasshopper sparrows, bobolink – that burst from the scrub along the road as I whooshed by. I loved the yellow-headed blackbirds best. Being from the east coast, I’d never seen one before. Sometimes I drove along the empty roads just… 


What Happens to Nora Helmer?

  When I went to Norway to research my novel Searching for Nora – a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s famous play A Doll’s House – I was curious to know what Norwegians thought of Nora Helmer. Nora, the character at the center of Ibsen’s drama, is a powerful but contradictory woman. She’s at turns silly, conniving, loving, manipulative, charming and desperate. She’s trying to avert a disaster but events slip from her control and, as the curtain falls, she walks out on her husband and family with a slam of the door. It’s one of the most famous moments in… 


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