The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven
Sven grows up in 1890s Stockholm, going from one dead-end factory job to another, before working as a live-in nanny for his sister, Olga. She senses his dissatisfaction and prompts him to take action. So, obsessed since boyhood with the romance of the Far North, Sven accepts a contract with a mining company on Spitzbergen, a sparsely inhabited icy world of mountains, polar bears, arctic foxes and rare and valuable minerals. There, digging for coal, Sven is badly injured in a shaft collapse and is disfigured. After he recovers as much as he ever will, feeling more of an outcast than ever, Sven remains in Svalbard over winter, when the mines close, hoping to study with the local trappers and learn their trade. On this isolated, rugged island, he creates a unique family of his own, planning never to return to regular society until the Second World War forces his hand.