On the Aland Islands in Scandinavia, the beauty and calm of the archipelago’s blue skies and seas are deceptive. Isolation encourages contemplation — but can it, as one grieving mother wonders, offer respite as well?

Foglo, photographed in March. A horse idly grazes along Foglovagen Road, which cuts under two bridges and through three central islands of the archipelago.

By Yiyun Li Photographs by Nick Ballón
Food Matters

“THE ALAND ISLANDS — where?” It was the first question my friends asked when I told them of my plan to travel there. “An archipelago in the Baltic Sea,” I would say, “between Sweden and Finland.” But that didn’t quite seem to explain the place. “There...

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