Monday, July 14, 2008

More Swedish Books

Having *a slight case* of backlog on books I'd like to write a bit about, I thought I might as well jam a few Swedish ones into one post. One of them was actually quite a huge disappointment, both story- as well as writing-wise, since it was written by one of my favourite writers. The story showed so much promise, as usual, the first chapter too. But then it just turned in to a predictable, very less than well-written and composed mismash pulpfiction novelette. I have absolutely no idea why, since both her previous books are so. very. Very. Good. Name of the book then, Kleopatras kam - "Cleopatra's Comb" by Maria Ernestam

Having now aired my literary disappointment, I'm moving on to far more pleasurable reads. First out being the third book by the multi-talented Mark Levengood - partner with Jonas Gardell, who is also a talented writer and stand-up-comedian - Sucka mitt hjärta men brist dock ej - "Sigh my heart tho burst not". These two guys have a rather different style in writing, Gardell is more blunt, crude head-on, whilst Levengood has a very appealing both gentle and shrewd sense of wistful humour running through when he talks as well when he writes.

His two previous books he co-wrote with another writer, both highly entertaining laugh-until-you-cry-kind of books jampacked with hilarious, memorable, endearing quotes from children. Perfect gifts and perfect books for all those times when you desperately need to perk yourself up - Gamla tanter lägger inte ägg ("Old ladies don't spawn") and Gud som haver barnen kär har du någon ull

This latest book of his is a collection of radioshow-scripts and newspaper/magazine columns plus lovely llustrations by Ilon Wikland, mostly known for her great illustrations of Astrid Lindgren's books. Oh yes, definitely a both laugh-out-loud as well as food-for-thought-kind of book. Do read.

Another Swedish, and awardwinning, writer who has a very distinctive, personal style to her writing - as well as a truly unusual, imaginative stories - is Barbro Lindgren. She mostly writes books for children and I remember loving her books when I read them as a child in the 70ies. And just recently I thoroughly enjoyed another one of her childrens books (first published in the late 90ies). Stunningly inventive and I must say, probably can't be completely grasped and enjoyed by a child. This is just a totally lovable childrens book for grownups, with adorable illustrations to match the words.

Vems lilla mössa flyger - "Whose little cap is flying" is the name of the book and the story revolves around Childhansels land, on the other side of the lilac hedges, and some of the main characters are a tired, old soft toydog, the Uncleteddy, the not-finished-knitted-duck, the Marble, the wistful Russian Muskrat, the rubber monkey on a bike and the crazy champagne kork who plays Hamlet's Ofelia in what can probably be concidered the best version of Hamlet ever played. Such a lovely, lovely book. And apparently this is the first in a series of three...

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