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Sara Lidman, 80; Wrote About Life in Rural Sweden

June 19, 2004|From Associated Press

Sara Lidman, a writer who won acclaim for her portrayal of rural life in Sweden in "The Tar Pit," has died. She was 80.

Lidman died Thursday from an undisclosed illness at a hospice in Umea, Sweden, the Swedish news agency TT said.

Lidman was revered as one of several post-World War II Swedish writers who blended concise storytelling with a love of home.

"The Tar Pit," published in 1953, focused on the life of rural farmers in northern Sweden and presaged the political awareness of the 1960s with its theme of helping the poor and destitute.

She followed that book with "The Rain Bird" in 1958.

The daughter of a farmer, Lidman was born in the remote village of Missentrask in southern Lapland. She was the third of five children and suffered from tuberculosis as a teenager.

She was sent to sanitariums for treatment and found books, radio and intellectual stimulation with people her own age. She later attended the University of Uppsala, the only child in her family to attend college.

Lidman traveled the world. She wrote about her journeys in Africa in "My Son and I," published in 1961. In 1966, she visited what was then the capital of North Vietnam and wrote "Conversations in Hanoi," a look at the Vietnam War.

She also mined Sweden's past, most notably in "Naboth's Stone," an account of farmers and rural residents confronting the approach of a new railroad and the industrial age.

Her last book was "The Root of Life" in 1996.

Information on survivors and funeral services was not immediately available.

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