Agmall Sarwari‘s debut novel The Silkworm is published by Wahlström & Widstrand. The author lives with his family in Stockholm where he works as a medical doctor.

The novel has already received praise from the industry.

The Silkworm is an impressive, well-written debut novel, and a brilliant example of contemporary high literature that through style and form is made available to a broad readership.”


Agmall Sarwari

In autumn 2021, I started writing a longer text, and since you are reading my debutante portrait, you will know that it became a book. The impulse to write this novel came to me during the pandemic.

We will get through this together.

I believed. We believed, in those words. Because we toiled, and sweated behind aprons, with foggy visors covering our faces. And yet; never before had we looked each other in the eye as much as we did then. Fear oozed from our pupils, the vitreous, in swollen tear glands. I remember the harsh wind, that raindrops sounded like pebbles against the taut tent fabric. Sometimes I thought the storm would sweep us away. With our bodies as a shield, we rushed into an uncertain future. But we were one single organism. We were finally guided by that which we had taken for granted, taking care of our fellow human beings. We were reminded of why we once chose this profession. How intoxicating it was.

From the heights of intoxication to landing in a pandemic hangover, finding ourselves worn down and noticing more clearly than ever the surrounding cracks, in society, between people and in people. So the pressure built up inside me and in order to vent the excess, I wrote in the evenings and at weekends to pin down thoughts and images.

The thousands of lives I have encountered in my profession as a doctor have obviously inspired me. After some conversations, I picked at leftover shards and tried to make them fit together, and there right in front of my eyes a pattern emerged.

How some people cling to life by forming thick walls around it where only the Self can fit, because the presence of others is complicated. At the same time, some of us are thrown beyond the safety of gravity as the globe spins faster and faster. Some land on their feet and others are diagnosed, some bodies are worn out, others use the offal to crawl their way out and up. Who, despite everything, chooses to run, and why. Who has given up, and whom society has given up on. That’s what I wanted to write about.

The final catalyst, or spark if you will – the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan – drove me to the keyboard. In order to ask the questions. Questions about fatherhood and healing processes. About human dignity. But also about blood and oil, about nature versus nurture, about environment and industry.

Even questions that couldn’t easily be answered deserved an attempt at clarification; they may remain stubbornly unanswered, even if they are turned inside out.

Perhaps in this, I will find a way forward.

 The Silkworm is a story about the people who, despite everything, choose to run, and why. About those who have given up, and those whom society has given up on. But also about our bodies as carriers of society’s brutalities.