Fru Ines is a city novel, vividly evoking the sights, sounds and smells of nineteenth-century Constantinople. The city is a hub, a meeting point of East and West, where privileged Europeans enjoy a cossetted existence screened from the tumult and misery of the streets. One of the privileged is Ines, a Spanish Levantine from Alexandria, whose marriage to a Swedish consul haFru Ines is a city novel, vividly evoking the sights, sounds and smells of nineteenth-century Constantinople. The city is a hub, a meeting point of East and West, where privileged Europeans enjoy a cossetted existence screened from the tumult and misery of the streets. One of the privileged is Ines, a Spanish Levantine from Alexandria, whose marriage to a Swedish consul has brought her a life of enviable luxury; but behind the polished facade she is lonely and unfulfilled, trapped in a loveless marriage. Her yearning for passion leads her to embark on an affair with a naive young Swede, Arthur Flemming; but their love is threatened from the start by portents of disaster and the threat of discovery, and Ines is inexorably drawn to seek rescue from the sordid dealers from whom she had been so careful to keep aloof. Amalie Skram was a contemporary of Henrik Ibsen, and like him a fierce critic of repressive social mores and hypocrisy. Many of her works make an impassioned statement on the way women of all classes are imprisoned in their social roles, contributing to the great debate about sexual morality which engaged many Nordic writers in the late nineteenth century. Her female characters are independent, rebellious, even reckless; but their upbringing and their circumstances combine to deny them the fulfilment their creator so painfully won for herself....
|Number of Pages||:||170 Pages|
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Fru Ines Reviews
=== A woman's desperate search for reasons to live and love ==The author had difficulty finding publishers for many of her books due to their ‘scandalous’ content. The world of the 1880s and 90s was not ready to acknowledge women’s rights and freedom. Marriage was frequently a bondage to the kitchen stove, the laundry tub, the infant’s crib and compulsory compliance in the marriage bed. Amalie Skram was one of a handful of 19th century Scandinavian women authors who dared through their literature to pose questions about the traditional role of women within marriage. Some of their female characters were virginal and had no idea about sexuality—about possible pains or pleasures. Others had experience and were ‘tainted’ or ‘fallen’ women who no respectable man wanted so they had to marry slovenly, lazy or abusive men. This short book, Fru Inés, is about a beautiful woman who marries a rich influential older man, Ribbing, who in the process will bail her out of insolvency. But behind his respectability he is a pervert and philanderer. Soon she avoids his sexual advances but he keeps her on as a showpiece, under close supervision so she won’t stray. After fourteen years, sexual frustration eventually wins out by her taking on a lover, the English Flemming. But he is socially inept and emotionally weak.Unlike Skram’s other novels set in Norway or Denmark, this one has an exotic setting: Constantinople. She had traveled there so she knew the city, people and culture first hand. She took great pains in getting everything correct. This novel—although short—has many layers and can be interpreted on multiple fronts. After reading it one can wonder about events that were not told but were only hinted at. Psychologists have indulged themselves in attributing several meanings to symbolic clues built into the plot. The story of Fru Inés is a tragic story of a woman searching for reasons to live in a world she clings to but also detests. This is a brief but serious and memorable work with a very abrupt ending that may leave the reader in awestruck despair.