This fall we have had three major literary titles published in Sweden and they have all received wonderful reviews, both from acclaimed critics and readers.
Andromeda by Therese Bohman, The Ocean by Steve Sem-Sandberg and A Handful of Wind by Negar Naseh
“A magnificent novel filled with the love of the fair. […] Andromeda is Therese Bohman’s fourth novel and she appears as a full-fledged master.”
“Therese Bohman is a contemporary of Hjalmar Söderberg. […] There is simply some kind of enchantment of the existence when Therese Bohman writes. That elevated sense of life and refinement that the characters in her novel so desperately seek, she herself recreates in her books. It’s grand.”
– Sveriges Radio
“Therese Bohman excels with her demanding novel about the passing of time. Andromeda has a quiet plot. But the captivity of people under the whims of fate is magnificent”.
“Continuously captivating about the friendship between a woman and a man. Therese Bohman writes a beautiful poem about literature, class, the longing for validation and the longing to be understood.”
“Therese Bohman has never written better. Therese Bohman writes about a relationship that cannot be defined with the language of the early 21st century. […] a novel that resists the current trends.”
– Gefle Dagblad
“They live a calm and structured life that gets its dignity and meaning through work. It’s also the description of the love for this work that is Andromeda‘s great asset. So rarely is that feeling included in a novel!”
– Göteborgs Posten
“Heartfelt, touching – and slightly provocative!”
The novel turns into one of the writing’s possible freedom, longing for romantic love and the rare moments of inner peace. Most end up in painful humiliation. Steve Sem–Sandberg has an extraordinary capacity to bring out the oppressive feeling of being imprisoned by hostile circumstances and one’s own shortcomings. The meeting between him and Rousseau is lovingly, like between two close friends.
Sem-Sandberg focuses on Rousseau’s view on nature, without lecturing but instead lets it become present when the philosopher rows on his daily botanic excursions, preferably with a teachable boy after him like an Émile. As always the stylistic is seductive; the saturated, poetic language that could turn any matter into shimmering gold. It’s almost occult.
Steve Sem-Sandberg writes calmly and flowing and beautifully. Enrolls in a highly literary European tradition, with a clear confidence from international awards and the chair in the Swedish Academy.
– Sveriges radio
”The Ocean” is an aching novel about duplicities. About at once being a loadstar and paria. About human’s never one sided balance act to live a worthy life. I hope it will be read by many.
Maybe it’s imagination, but to me it seems like “The Ocean” in Sem-Sandberg’s authorship marks the transition to a new phase. Here everything melts together in a fortunate symbios, sheer nature writing, playful expositions about medical herbs, theological arguments; a quiet and intense whirl that lets us see the things in a new way.
– Tidningen Vi
And now it has to be said: what a novel this is!
As a reader I follow him closely, startled, fascinated and seduced. I can’t but state that Sem-Sandberg once again has written a nuanced and brilliant portrayal – that essentially is about the difficulty in living as you learn. This is great art.
Shortly: A masterpiece.
– Tidningen Fokus
Negar Naseh’s novel ”A Handful of Wind” is a grandiose exile novel, filled with love for the Persian language and the Iranian culture landscape.
– Dagens Nyheter
It’s the viability that appears the most strongly: how acts of care, strong family ties and Persian food culture can keep souls together, not make them burst. I like the calmness of the portrayal, which dampens the emotional states rather than enhancing them. The mobility of the gaze between the everyday details and the clouds’ flight over a shared sky is enough.
Negar Naseh switches from several points of view and the story spans over decades. What becomes my red thread is the plants, the spices, the rooms, the sisterhood and the food. Watermelon with chopped mint. Cooling soup made of yogurt. It’s at the dining table everything happens, the life that’s only passing. The cruelties, the everyday marriages and a mother learning how to swim in secret. It’s nicely portrayed.
Negar Naseh has succeeded in capturing a story that goes straight into the heart of the reader. The novel is beautifully written, since it partially has elements of the Persian language which makes the readers get even closer to the characters, whether you speak the language or not. Naseh has throughout the story portrayed the sorrow and unawareness that emerge when a person has to leave a country they love deeply. Repeatedly during my reading I couldn’t help but feel a sting in my heart, both from sadness and tenderness. But the strongest presence in the book is of course love. A love and hope that still exists despite all the years that have gone by. The strong love to the family and the tenderness for the friends that become a driving force for all the characters we meet through the book.
– Magasinet Kult
It’s an impressive construction of a novel […] And Naseh’s way of narrating arouses my admiration, where the suspense is building up slowly and convincingly, where everything happens in the concealed, in the dark, with secret connections that are only partially uncovered.
– Björn Kohlström, author and critic
The language is very beautiful, the characters are insightfully portrayed, not at least the portrayal of the terminally ill shah is moving. A very well written and memorable story about some human fates during a revolutionary time, but also about what happened thereafter.