On October 21st it was revealed that ‘W.’ by Steve Sem-Sandberg is one of the nominees for the August prize 2019!
The statement from the jury is as follows “The Woyzeck case has fascinated authors and playwrights for two centuries. When Steve Sem-Sandberg takes on the mythological story he makes a psychological drama about jealousy and post traumatic stress in a Europe torn by war. The story casts long shadows into our time. The world portrayed via a personal failure.”
And ‘W.‘ has been praised by critics sine the release and has been number 1 on SvD’s booklist since October 2nd. And this is what their literature critic had to say about the book.
It’s not a book that offers comprehension, but something bigger: a feeling of solidarity. […] One could call Steve Sem-Sandberg’s W for a masterly psychological case study – it wouldn’t be wrong – but it would in some way also to be reducing this novel, to make it something too general. No, it’s the collaboration and tension between the reader and Woyzeck, rather than the attempts to find more profound motives, that makes this reading experience so strong.
You walk by his side with a feeling of solidarity, not comprehension. You are led to the scaffold without having gotten any proper answer on the question about the nature of the crime, if it was in the heat of the moment or the revenge for an entire life of injustices. And when you are closing the book it’s as if the broadaxe falls down a second time.
Steve Sem-Sandberg’s new novel W shines from within, as from a thousand small inexorable lamps directed into the most acute. […] a sharp and hyper sensitive novel about abandonment and violence. […] it sparks electrically from this art of novel sharp in style. […] Steve Sem-Sandberg has with W written a close study in human exposure and male rage. To read it is like to crossing the surface, gasping, and greedily devour the air that only really good literature can bring. It’s a fantastic, spell-binding and terrible book.
… Sem-Sandberg maintains the ambiguity until the very last magnificent sentence. […] The prose is impeccable throughout the novel, at times very beautiful and coloured by the time the story takes place in. […] W. is an ethically exhorting novel, filled with a matter-of-fact pathos. Its sometimes indigestible gravity is something to be grateful for.