How does one know what it’s like to love somebody?

It’s the 1970’s and Lo grows up as a lonely child in an oddly large family on the outskirts of a small town in Southern Sweden. Be careful with love, her mother warns her, but never tells her why. And Lo never stops wondering.

A strong and secret bond forms between Lo and the older neighbour boy Lukas. He has been crippled by life. She has something that he wants. The village is on fire both when they first meet and when they finally part. And she will leave Lukas behind, just like she does with Yoel and all the other men whom she meets and accompanies for a while out in the world; in Stockholm, in Cracow, in Budapest, in New York.

First published by Svante Weyler Bokförlag, Sweden, 2010.
358 pages.

Albania, Botime Pegi
France, Maren Sell Editeur
Germany, Suhrkamp
Italy, Mondadori
The Netherlands, Saga Egmont
Persian, Café 60 Media
Spain, Grijalbo Mondadori
Sweden, Albert Bonniers Förlag
UK, Quercus
US, Viking/Plume

The air is burning hot in author Anne Swärd’s world. She writes about a love that rages like a forest fire. When all is black and devastated the infernal embers remain, ready to flare up again.
Bodil Juggas, Arbetarbladet

I would call it the Swedish novel of the year, if only it wasn’t January. But I don’t have any doubts that I will say the same come December.
Therese Bohman, Expressen

… one of the absolute strongest novels I have read in a long while
Erik Löfvendahl, Svenska Dagbladet

In her portrayal of love she possesses a poetic timing and a presence that turns the book into a reading experience out of the ordinary, as beautiful as it is real and something that lingers in the memory.
Pernilla Andersson, Sundsvalls Tidning

Swärd’s narrative has a restless energy, a doubtlessness, that I like. She has written a fantastic third novel that stretches between desperation and tenderness. It may well be her well-deserved breakthrough.
Marie Peterson, Tidningen Vi

Anne Swärd is an author that carves out linguistic perfection – every refrain, every breath fits right in – settings and characters grow and deepen throughout.
Elin Claeson, SR Kulturnytt

Swärd turns her characters’ psyches inside out and forces them to wander through their own darkness and dreams. She writes inexorably, but at the same time tenderly, about the forbidden, the dangerous and the most powerful. The result is as harrowing as it is beautiful.
Jonna Fries, Tidningen Kulturen

“Till sista andetaget” is something of a masterpiece. It doesn’t feel as if the words have actually been written, they just are. The sentences are hard as nails, chiselled, poetically soft, often with a sudden turn in subject matter towards the end. The novel is filled with facts about film, art, history and nature, but it still feels incredibly timeless. At the same time it’s wonderfully comprehensive.
Caroline Alesmark, Södermanlands Nyheter

I’m aware that we are barely halfway through January, but I still would like to flag for a well-deserved August Prize nomination. Anne Swärd has, unlike most others, absolute psychological pitch; an ability to portray ambiguous emotions with total preciseness and is so at ease with the narrative that she with apparent smoothness transforms this perception of man’s precipice into a both thrilling and well-written work of fiction.
Therese Eriksson, UNT

A dark, powerful novel – burningly obsessive.
Guri Hjeltnes, VG

With her poetically minimalistic realism Swärd captures emotions and moods that touch us deep within… This novel is about life itself.
Vigdis Moe Skarstein, Adresseavisen

The story describes the fragile love that demands everything and that finally leaves you gasping for air.
Irene Trysnes, Fædrelandsvennen

The storytelling is sensual, fascinating, even giddying.
Me Naiset

…a novel that has the potential to gain cult status…
Helsingin Sanomat

Captivating and sometimes crushing. It’s easy to lose oneself in Anne Swärd’s fine novel, because she works so beautifully with her narrative and is able to portray her characters in such a warm and vivid manner.
Katinka Bruhn, Weekendavisen

The time scheme of this elusive novel is complex, shifting between Lo’s childhood and her restless, rootless, promiscuous adult life, a direct consequence of her past. But the reader’s patience is repaid and, while as a non-Swedish speaker it’s impossible to judge, this translation feels particularly supple and lucid.
Stephanie Cross, The Daily Mail

Although an uncomfortable read at times, the compelling and thought-provoking story cleverly weaves together Lo’s parents’ relationship and her own adolescence, exploring the power of her mother’s advice, “beware of love”.
Laura Temple, Irish Examiner

Foreboding pervades this beguiling novel. Swärd is eloquent on love, betrayal, and the complexities of the human heart, and the book’s lyrical quality is beautifully translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner.
Lucy Popescu, The Independent

This is both a beautiful and haunting read, which explores many difficult questions.
Image Magazine