So, the book has been out for a couple of days. I've just read it, and here are some facts and perhaps some impressions, too.
The book starts with these words:
På Luntmakargatan 14 i Stockholm finns ett gårdshus. Jag var nitton år gammal då jag flyttade dit i september 1985. Efter att ha vuxit upp med mamma på Ibsengatan i Blackeberg vad det min första egna bostad.
At Luntmakargatan 14 in Stockholm is a courtyard house. I was nineteen years old when I moved there in September 1985. After having grown up with mum on Ibsengatan in Blackeberg it was the first home of my own.
Already in these first lines the fiction is revealed - Lindqvist was born in December 1968, and thus was only sixteen and still a high school student in September 1985. But don't think that this is a typo or a mistake - as Lindqvist has previously revealed
, the assassination of Olof Palme
in February 1986 is an ingredient of the novel.
The novel is written in first person, and revolves about what happened to Lindqvist in a few months of his life. It has the character of a memoir, and I suspect it is to some extent autobiographic. JAL probably moved in to an apartment at Luntmakargatan 14 when he was nineteen - only that in reality it wasn't until three years later. Likewise, I suspect some events in the novel are authentic. Other events obviously are not. And then there are the events that might
have happened. These blur the line between fiction and reality - you keep asking: did he really...?
At 274 pages the novel is short, at least compared to the previous one's 410. I read it in a single day, as I usually do.
So, what about my impressions? Well, I always have a hard time giving judgement about books - except in a few cases when I clearly can say that I found a book litterally unreadable. This, obviously, wasn't the case here, but did I find it intriguing, did it keep me entrenched? Hard to say. I did read it in one day, but perhaps I wasn't obsessed the way I sometimes become when reading fiction. I was able to put the book away for a hour or so, a couple of times. I didn't push my daily chores to the future, but made my bed in the morning and washed my lunch dishes right away.
Hm, upon revisiting this posting a few hours later I feel that it sounds more negative than I intended. Unfortunately, I find the question about whether I liked a book much harder to answer than if I disliked it. I need a few days to digest a story before I can tell, and regarding this one it's still too early. So, all that I can say right now is that at least I didn't dislike it!