Kategoriarkiv: In English

My New Baby Has Arrived!

A new book is like a new baby.

My new book just arrived from the printers. I couldn’t wait for the mail, but went to pick it up directly from the publisher’s office. Holding a book you have written yourself for the first time is a bit like holding your newborn baby. It hasn’t been easy and you have waited so long. You are in awe of what you have created.

Kvinnokungen (The female king, or The woman king) is a novel about the Swedish queen Christina, who reigned in the seventeenth century. It’s a book about power, gender and politics. And love. I spent years researching and writing it. It will be released 25 May, and now I’m both fearing and looking forward to hearing what my readers will think about it.

A Quest For the Most Beautiful Thing

Sonya Hartnett's The Ghost's Child – a mythical story about a young woman's quest for the most beautiful thing in the world.
Sonya Hartnett’s The Ghost’s Child – a mythical story about a young woman’s quest for the most beautiful thing in the world.

The excellent Sonya Hartnett, who won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (the biggest prize in children’s literature) in 2008, is one of my absolute favourite writers. As all good writers she takes her time when writing books, so while I wait for a new one I re-read the ones already published.

This summer I re-read The Ghost’s Child from 2008. The book is about the young girl Maddy from the beginning of the twentieth century, who falls in love with a strange young man, Feather, who lives on the beach. Reluctantly her parents allow Maddy to marry him, and the young couple move into a cottage in the pine forest. But Feather does not seem happy, always gazing at the horizon. When he leaves, Maddy sets out on a long and hard journey to find him and ask him one final question…

A beautiful, rich and intriguing story in the shape of both myth and fairy tale. A story of love, disappointment, loneliness and death. But also of happiness and of finally finding what you have been longing for.

For a long time I thought the title was The Ghost Child instead of The Ghost’s Child. When I suddenly discovered my mistake I saw the text in a new light. Read it! It suits both adolescents and adults. Unfortunately it has not been translated into the Swedish.

Possible Lives

Jenny Erpenbeck's Natt för gott (Aller Tage Abend) is not one but several stories about the possible lives of a woman.
Jenny Erpenbeck’s Natt för gott (Aller Tage Abend) is not one but several stories about the possible lives of a woman.

Unfortunately my German is not good for much more than reserving hotel rooms and ordering wienersnitzel, which is why I’ve had to wait for the Swedish translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s Aller Tage Abend (Swe: Natt för gott, Eng: The End of Days).

Erpenbeck draws us into a story which develops into several versions of a Viennese woman’s life and death. In the first, she dies as an infant. But what would have happened if she didn’t die that time? The book is a fascinating journey though lives and the twentieth century, but what I love most about it is Erpenbeck’s beautiful prose. This is a writer who really knows how to represent those very difficult feelings on the border of human existence.

(Kate Atkinson is one of my favourite writers. She uses the same technique as Erpenbeck in her wonderful novel Life After Life from 2014. Possibly Atkinson was inspired ny Erpenbeck’s novel?)

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