I don’t know where exactly you are living right now, but it is holiday season for almost every country. It is either a Christmas break or a New Year week, so you have time to spend your families, significant others and friends! However, do not forget to spare some time for yourself as well, especially if you are enrolled in a university or a college and you don’t have so much chance to do during the courses. By speaking of setting aside for yourself, the best thing to do is to read! Here, I want to share some books I’ve read during cold and dark days in Sweden written by Swedish storytellers. If you have any suggestion apart from the ones below, please leave a comment, I would like to check them out! If you are not a bookworm, maybe you want to take a look Swedish Music Playlist or the blog post about movies I have prepared last year.
The Ice Princess, by Camilla Läckberg
There was so much going on in this thriller book. An extraordinary amount of colorful characters: from the eccentric elderly Mrs. Petren to the aging trendsetter Nelly Lorentz…
Lackberg touches on a number of issues–domestic violence, child abuse, negligence, mental illness, and adultery–without devolving into the typical moralistic role. Every detail of human nature is somehow spot on, and the book gives the reader a sense of Swedishness. I personally do not like crime thrillers, yet Swedish novelists are pretty good at this.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson
The back cover of this witty and droll novel compares it with Forest Gump but that is a very superficial comparison. I think, Jonasson’s novel is much deeper, incisive and more relevant than Gump. If you like Gump, sorry! Please do not leave reading the post
The Hundred-Year-Old Man is a quirky, funny and unusual novel which not only provided some elegant pleasure of entertainment, but also brought back my memories from history class at high school. – maybe I should have paid more attention then! There were many moments when I laughed out loud during reading this novel. Its tone is matter-of-fact but its story is absurdly rollicking.
The Hypnotist, by Lars Kepler
The Hypnotist is a dark, chilling tale of desperation and madness. Swedish crime thrillers are fulfilling my need of horror during dark days. The Hypnotist is set in Sweden from December 8th until the 24th. So you need to start reading it now, i you really want to feel the narrative. It is an intense story on many levels: the dark antagonists, the depth of the crimes committed, even the betrayals of many of the characters.
I have to confess that I just felt a bit of a disconnect with the characters. There was no one that I really liked, and at the same time, there was no one that I really hated. I always seek for characters I like/hate in a book, and in this sense, I just couldn’t find any. The good guys were lacking and the bad guys were not fully developed. However, if you like dark stories with some antagonism and character analysis, read it.
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, by Jonas Jonasson
I think, Jonasson is the protagonist of Swedish novel writers. The things that he puts together should not work, but they do because his sense of both the absurd and the possible are so finely honed. Jonasson combines the anarchistic tendencies of the American genre with the broad, complicated but loving world of John Irving. (I am a big fan of Irving!)
The book is unexpected, crazy and exuberant. If you have time to read, take it on your hands and you won’t be able to put it down. I have read this book after reading “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” and I was not disappointed!
I purposely do not write a summary about the book because its setup doesn’t allow me to do it. It consists of Mandela, Mossad agents , the Bush-Al Gore election, the king, the prime minister etc. You may get how absurd and enchanting it is!
Popular Music from Vittula: A Novel, by Mikael Niemi
If you’re looking for a funny and tender coming-of-age story set above the Arctic Circle, this is the book for you! The book itself is a little bit old -written in 2004, yet the story is still captivating! I never stopped laughing while reading this book set in Pajala in Tornedalen Sweden.
While the novel covers memories of a young boy from Vittula in short chapters, there is no linear narrative drive. Rather, the novel is a series of episodes that together form a portrait of a young boy growing up in a remote part of the world, togging up with dark humor, Swedish perspective and a little bit law of Jante.