2011:1 Issue

Editorial2011:1 Issue

At SBR we work a lot with people in the business of seeking publicity and exposure for their national literatures. One sought-after route these days is to be chosen as the focus country, or geographical area, at a major book fair. A whole continent, Africa, was in that coveted position at last autumn’s Gothenburg Book Fair and Swedish publishers, especially small independents, significantly boosted the number of titles they published from Africa as a result (Source: Svensk bokhandel). It is impossible to gauge the benefits precisely, of course, but everyone is keen to seize the opportunity. ‘Les lettres nordiques à l’honneur!’ announces the website of the Salon du Livre in Paris this spring, offering a fine array of authors assembled by the Nordic countries, and Finland is investing serious time and money, including gearing up translators of Finland-Swedish, as it prepares to be the focus country at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2014.

Then there is the positive effect of being a prizewinner: this brings an inevitable boost to sales, and to visibility, even internationally. SBR and publications like it always make sure to list any prizes a book has won. Are we prize–obsessed in the modern publishing world? Of course we are, but if everyone’s a prizewinner, how then to judge new fiction for translation?

Who can publishers consult? Not many can justify the cost of employing scouts. Some may ask translators: a few translators have the ear of individual publishers; a larger number act as readers. Agents are major players in the Nordic field now, for good or ill. But some publishers might say the whole point is the thrill of making their own discoveries. We remind our readership that SBR is an independent voice. Publishers looking for advice that is not profit-led publicity department hype can find here not only tasters and articles but also reviews written by a panel of contributors who can read Swedish, many of whom work as publishers’ readers.

In this issue we also offer extracts from Waste, which won the 2010 August Prize for Sigrid Combüchen, who has featured in our pages for many years. There are two newer authors to discover, as well as an interview with Henrik Berggren on his new biography of Olof Palme, a man whose fate fascinates beyond borders. Our reporters bring you their impressions of the 2010 Gothenburg Book Fair, fortunately unaffected by volcanic ash clouds or other problems besetting similar events around the world.

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from Waste

Translated by Linda Schenck

Spill (Waste) was awarded the prestigious August Prize for fiction in 2010. Sigrid Combüchen, author and literary critic, had her major breakthrough in 1988 with the novel Byron, which was translated into eight languages. Waste is a story within a story, a narrative with many layers and multiple time sequences, full of empathy, humor, irony, social criticism and literary finesse. Linda Schenck introduces the novel and presents her translation of some extracts.

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The Commission

Translated by Darcy Hurford

Jonas Karlsson (b. 1971) is one of Sweden’s busiest actors, working for TV, film and the theatre. Taken from Karlsson’s second volume of short stories Den perfekte vännen (The Perfect Friend, 2009), The Commission is an intriguing and somewhat disconcerting tale of an artist who unwittingly unearths some murky secrets on the estate of the well-heeled family that has commissioned him. It is in many ways typical of the collection as a whole, showing everyday lives in juxtaposition with bizarre encounters and misunderstandings. The story is introduced and translated here by Darcy Hurford.

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The Intellectual, the Individual, and the State: An Interview with Henrik Berggren

Conducted, Translated and Introduced by Anna Paterson

Anna Paterson presents her interview with Henrik Berggren, whose account of Olof Palme and his times received unanimous critical admiration. Underbara dagar framför oss ("A Wonderful Time Ahead") is a well-researched 'life' of an unusually attractive and active politician. The interview covers the writer's own reflections on and around some of the aspects of his work.

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from Oh, Come and Look at This

Translated and Introduced by Sarah Death

Finland-Swedish writer Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo is a writer of novels, short stories, plays for radio and theatre, and children's books. Her haunting new novel Oh, Come and Look at This defies standard categorisation. On one level, it is a time-travelling murder mystery; on another level, it is a meditation on travel, on home and away, family versus rootlessness. Sarah Death introduces the author and presents her translation of an extract from the novel.

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Impressions of the Gothenburg Book Fair 2010

Tom Geddes, Anna Paterson and Sarah Death present their individual perspectives on the 2010 Gothenburg Book Fair.

BOOKSHELF: REVIEWS, edited by Anna Paterson

FlugtämjarenErik Wahlström, Flugtämjaren (The Fly Tamer)

Schildts förlag, 2011. ISBN: 9789515020055

Reviewed by Željka Černok ▸Read Review


Den drunknadeTherese Bohman, Den drunknade (Drowned)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113027203

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review


VattnenSusanne Ringell, Vattnen (The Waters)

Söderströms, 2010. ISBN: 9789515227324

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review


Under krigetCarola Sandbacka, Under kriget (During the War)

Schildts förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789515020048

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review


Kioskvridning 140 graderPeter Törnqvist, Kioskvridning 140 grader (Kiosk Rotation 140 Degrees)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113025308

Reviewed by Henning Koch ▸Read Review


En dåre friBeate Grimsrud, En dåre fri (A Lunatic Freed)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124748

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


Niklas Rådström, Månens anförvant (Kinsman of the Moon)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124922

Reviewed by Silvester Mazzarella ▸Read Review


Sara Stridsberg, Darling River: Doloresvariationer (Darling River: Dolores Variations)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100122683

Reviewed by Rick McGregor ▸Read Review


Skulle jag dö under andra himlarJohannes Anyuru, Skulle jag dö under andra himlar (If I Were to Die Under Other Skies)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113022086

Reviewed by Anna-Lisa Murrell ▸Read Review


Spill. En damromanSigrid Combüchen, Spill. En damroman (Waste. A Ladies' Novel)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113029887

Reviewed by Birgitta Thompson ▸Read Review


KolkaBengt Ohlsson, Kolka

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124281

Reviewed by Tuva Tod ▸Read Review


BabylonCamilla Ceder, Babylon

Wahlström & Widstrand, 2010. ISBN: 9789146220442

Reviewed by Marlaine Delargy ▸Read Review


Döda poeter skriver inte kriminalromanerBjörn Larsson, Döda poeter skriver inte kriminalromaner (Dead Poets Can't Write Crime Novels)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113029573

Reviewed by Tom Geddes ▸Read Review


Den döende detektivenLeif G W Persson, Den döende detektiven (The Dying Detective)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124823

Reviewed by Dominic Hinde ▸Read Review


Kvinnan utan egenskaperNiklas Ekdal, Kvinnan utan egenskaper (Woman Without Qualities)

Forum, 2010. ISBN: 9789137134918

Reviewed by Darcy Hurford ▸Read Review


Ge mig dina ögonTorsten Pettersson, Ge mig dina ögon (Give Me Your Eyes)

Söderströms, 2008. ISBN: 9789515225733

Reviewed by Irene Scobbie ▸Read Review


Göm mig i ditt hjärtaTorsten Pettersson, Göm mig i ditt hjärta (Conceal Me in Your Heart)

Söderströms, 2010. ISBN: 9789515227409

Reviewed by Irene Scobbie ▸Read Review


Om StrindbergLena Einhorn, Om Strindberg (About Strindberg)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113022604

Reviewed by Peter Graves ▸Read Review


Språket är Gud. Anteckningar om Joseph BrodskyBengt Jangfeldt, Språket är Gud. Anteckningar om Joseph Brodsky (Language is God. Notes about Joseph Brodsky)

Wahlström & Widstrand, 2010. ISBN: 9789146219606

Reviewed by Peter Graves ▸Read Review


Underbara dagar framför oss. En biografi över Olof PalmeHenrik Berggren, Underbara dagar framför oss. En biografi över Olof Palme (Wonderful Times Ahead. A Biography of Olof Palme)

Norstedts, 2010. ISBN: 9789113017082

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


NyckelbarnenSara Kadefors, Nyckelbarnen (Key Kids)

Bonnier Carlsen, 2010. ISBN: 9789163867224

Reviewed by Linda Schenck ▸Read Review


Skjut apelsinenMikael Niemi, Skjut apelsinen (Shoot the Orange)

Rabén & Sjögren, 2010. ISBN: 9789129673005

Reviewed by Birgitta Thompson ▸Read Review


FattigadelAgnes von Krusenstjerna, Fattigadel (Distressed Gentlefolk)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2010. ISBN: 9789100124915

Reviewed by Carl Otto Werkelid ▸Read Review


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