In the early summer of 1857, Danish author H.C. Andersen commences a ‘grand tour’ of most European cities that he has previously visited. In his luggage he brings the novel Att være eller icke være (To Be or Not to Be) in three editions –Danish, German and English. Nevertheless, the most important goal for him during this trip is to visit the man he has dedicated this book to – Charles Dickens. The previous spring he had received letters from Dickens, almost begging him to stop by for a visit.

Both writers are at the height of their careers and they admire and respect each other. But the meeting doesn’t live up to their expectations. Already after a couple of days Dickens tries to get rid of his guest, but Andersen stays with the family for five weeks. After that they lose contact, despite some eager attempts from Andersen.

Niklas Rådström’s book is a fantasy around a real event – and a meditation over the conditions of the writer and the dream of friendship.

First published by Albert Bonniers, Sweden 2006.
149 pages.