OBSERVATORIET – THE OBSERVATORY
BY SÖDERLUND, MATS
The Observatory is a merciless novel that gets under the skin and lingers on the mind for a long time.
Erik is alone in the mountains on a scientific mission to observe and record the wind, the air pressure and temperature levels.
While a snowstorm turns into a hurricane Erik is shivering inside the cabin’s shaking walls, haunted by his memories.
He no longer wants to be alone and he longs for Kristine, a fellow student that he fell in love with but is afraid to open up to. Afraid that she will see trough his intellectual surface and discover the coward who never fought back and defended himself from his boundless and abusive mother.
Erik is vulnerable and fragile and feels trapped inside the isolated cabin which feeds his anxiety and childhood memories.
The reader is given a harrowing portrayal of a small northern village, where the bullied Erik lives among insensitive adults and their constant breaches of privacy, at home and in the village school.
Mats Söderlund tells the story from the boy’s perspective and it’s cleverly done with psychological insight, speaking directly to the reader. And although this is a love story or a tale of tentative love and self-destructive behaviour, it is above all a poignant coming-of-age story.
The Observatory is Mats Söderlund’s first novel, a story with the same linguistic responsiveness and power that characterizes his poetry.
ABOUT THE BOOK
First published by Albert Bonniers Förlag, Sweden 2013.
RIGHTS SOLD TO
Sweden, Albert Bonniers Förlag
‘The Observatory’ is at any rate one of the best novels I’ve read in years.
Maria Vedin, NSD
Söderlund writes sensitively and with psychological insight and thereby succeeds in portraying boyhood (and the road to manhood) in a significantly more multilayered and complex manner than the simplistic image of the previous decades.