Winding stories on the edge of the frames of realism. Her imagery is amazing, the intrigues subtly alarming. The main character is often a young girl, bordering on a child, serious, surrounded by large families and complicated relationships. […] Anne Swärd writes about what she fears: broken relationships, failed parenthood, uneven power balance. She likes contrasts and seem to harbour some massive ones in her own personality. The reckless next to a powerful motherliness and family orientation.
Last year Anne Swärd was elected into the crisis-ridden Swedish Academy as representative for the prose writing. With “Jackie” she shows just how talented she is at this. It’s alternately seductive and icy – simply a very good novel. […] Anne Swärd skillfully dictates the creeping transition, from beautiful to horrible.
Swärd is skilled in finding those crucial scenes and moments that exist in every life, but which won’t expose themselves in full clarity, even to ourselves, until we have processed them in our mind so many times they have finally taken the form of fiction, become a sort of life story we can live with, possibly even understand. This is one of the paradoxes of good litterature: that the elevated – to some extent the false – literary truth often come across as more true than the obscurely lived. “True” is also the word that I mainly think of when I try to describe “Jackie”.
Sydsvenskan + Helsingborgs Dagblad
[…] for the reader all the warning bells start ringing hysterically already during the first chapter, yes almost from the first page. Swärd is in fact incredibly skilled at slowly, slowly building up her story at the same time as she provides the reader with tiny, tiny notions about what is about to happen. She also has a psychological empathy bordering on the paranormal. She gets under the skin of both main characters and takes the reader with her, until all you want is to just get out. […] all of this Swärd describes with a prose which is both infinitely beautiful and clear cut.
That she would become a person who writes she understood already as a child. “The work helps me fend off the darkness. No matter how difficult it is to write it is more difficult to live.” […] “I can see that I use my own experiences, they are the fuel. In reality I’m a very reserved person but I feel protected behind the fiction. I have very little distance to what I write.” Anne Swärd deal with themes like damaged relationships in love and relations with power struggles. The day after her graduation Anne Swärd got on a train away from her hometown, towards the freedom. The main character in “Jackie” does the same thing, her new novel about love, obsession and survival.
“Jackie” is carried by a persistent drive, as though it was a return necessary to finally make. […] Anne Swärd writes with a strong sense of presence and intensity. “Jackie” is sticky, with honey and blood. Neither does the author shy away from filmic dramatic scenes where the young woman’s emotional captivity is portrayed in the trips the couple makes to a scary and desolate island in the archipelago. […] Anne Swärd is an accomplished storyteller, which she shows in this as well as previous novels. […] The depiction in ”Jackie” of how a person’s personality can be torn apart is an advanced work of art.
Claustrophobic and passionate love story about Jackie who as soon as school is over takes the train to Stockholm to live the real life. With a prose only Anne Swärd can write.
Unerringly skilful, the story unfolds with an immediate, riveting narrative. A strong text with an important message; Jackie isn’t the only one.
Anne Swärd portrays […] with a dark enthralling authenticity.
Anne Swärd is good at describing the dazing turns in the intoxicating love and the engulfing passion. […] Anne Swärd knows exactly what she is doing, and so recurrent in her novels the love story develops and turn into something complex and sore. […] Gradually a story about two persons wanting to escape from themselves takes shape. She succeeds in making a human out of the demon, without portraying him as less unpleasant. […] … this is a novel that grabs a firmer and firmer grip of the reader. When I have read it I’m drained, angry and sad. And once again impressed by Anne Swärd as an author.
“Jackie” is a novel about devouring infatuation that balances on the border between love and exploitation. It’s at its best when Swärd leaves her characters in the unpleasant moods, as when the boyfriend, who has already revealed his violent tendencies, has brought Jackie out on a deserted winter island in the Stockholm archipelago, where the atmosphere simmers with ominous doom. For the author has an enormously good eye for the interpersonal relationships, and the fatal choreographies that emerge between Jackie and the people she hangs out with.
The refinement of “Jackie” is that the reader is kept in the same painful uncertainty as the characters in the novel. In fact, right to the very end. […] The technique that makes the novel so addictive and at the same time suffocating to read, is that it is told alternately from both points of view.