Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Swedish Authors, part 3 (3)

The latest three books I've finished just happened to be by Swedish authors, hence the somewhat "pretentious" title of this post. The other two you find here and here.

This writer, John Ajvide Lindqvist, is quite often referred to as the Swedish version of Stephen King. Yes, he writes horror fiction, but I don't think Lindqvist is as studiously splatter and gore fanciful, as King tend to be - and I've so read my fair share of King-books and I really, really like many of them. When they're good they're great, inventive, nail-biting well-written pieces of literature, when they're not they're repetitiously slobbery and boring. I also think Lindqvist has a more sophisticated way of writing, he's very good at connecting the really bad, or weird, or exciting things that happen to very ordinary people amongst us, to very mundane surroundings.

Surroundings and situations that most of us can relate to, in one way or another. Not only because it perhaps takes place in a sleepy suburb close to home, but also because there are everyday people involved, a usual place of work, a perhaps sad and grey way of life, a normal reaction to a certain abnormal occurrence. Always written with a social awareness and a certain undercurrent of sadness.

His first two books "Let the right one in" and "Handling the Undead" have apparently already been translated to English. The third one, the one I finished some time ago, is called "Pappersväggar" (Paperwalls) where the first half of it is a collection of short stories - nine of them - and the second half is a closure on the "Handling the Undead".

I enjoyed it immensely! The diversity of the stories, the ingeniousness, that special groundswells of melancholy. Couldn't stop reading, finished it in two late night readings. And I still ponder over some of the stories, they do have a tendency to linger on. Definitely a recommended read! Although, if read in the non-original language some of perception of it might be lost in translation, alas.

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