Rave review for Steve Sem-Sandberg’s The Tempest
Steve Sem-Sandberg has received a great review for his The Tempest. The novel is to be published by Faber & Faber February 21st.
This is a novel about the way historical crimes are written on a landscape, about the manner in which moral decay takes on physical form. What makes The Tempest truly special, though, is the risks that Sem-Sandberg takes with narrative conventions, the way that his prose seems to break every rule in the creative writing handbook, and yet does so joyfully, recklessly and utterly convincingly. That such stylistic complexity is rendered in a manner that feels entirely natural is testimony to the great skill of the translator, Anna Paterson. The prose leaps wilfully between past and present tenses, the voice suddenly breaks into the second person and at one point Johannes takes over Andreas’s first-person narrative. Perspectives telescope in and out, giving us sweeping passages of history or wide-angle landscapes followed by intimately observed and close-up moments in time. It’s as if the book’s most significant borrowing from Shakespeare’s play is not the island setting, but rather Prospero’s total control of narrative, the omnipotence of the author-magician.
You find the review in its entirety here: https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/02/an-islands-dark-secrets-the-tempest-by-steve-sem-sandberg-reviewed/