ORIGINAL TITLE: Happy Sally
AUTHOR: Sara Stridsberg
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Albert Bonniers förlag
Happy Sally is a fantasy about Sally Bauer, channel swimmer and swimming queen. Sally Bauer was obsessed with swimming. Just before the war broke out in 1939 she became the first Scandinavian to cross the English Channel. The time: 15 hours and 22 minutes.
Years later a different swimmer, Ellen, attempts to repeat the feat. Her longing to swim determines everything around her. She has made a bet with her husband: if she succeeds she can devote herself to swimming forever; if she fails she and the children must join him on his dream voyage of sailing across the Atlantic.
When the daughter returns to Dover to recollect the Summer of the Channel, Ellen’s purpose and failure is mirrored in the story of Sally Bauer and her triumph. In the currents of the channel, two dedicated and determined swimmers merge.
While in part lyrical and fragmented, Happy Sally has a powerful and straightforward plot, in which it is the women and mothers who ruthlessly pursue their dreams, neglect their families and children, and are propelled by an indomitable desire for freedom: “One day I will crush the Channel. I am burning with pride.”