Rabén & Sjögren, 2013.
Reviewed by Mia Österlund in SBR 2014:1
Review Section: Fiction for Young Adults
We have read it all before. Peer pressure at school and the agony it causes are such commonplace motifs in young adult fiction that they have become the mother of all clichés. Still, in the skilful hands of Ingrid Olsson, and filtered through her sensitive, poetic language, these familiar motives seem as if captured for the very first time.
Fulast i världen is the love story of Simon and Siw. They take it in turns as the lead character in chapters that inevitably overlap. One summer, on a shabby camping site, the two teenagers fall in love. When Simon begins in Siw’s class in the autumn, the classroom queen instantly labels him as a freak. The two suffer when peer pressure threatens their emotional bond.
Simon is a swimmer; in the water he is free. Siw is not as privileged as her friends and has to skip most urban activities because she cannot afford them. The theme of social class, which has emerged so strongly in works by Susanna Alakoski and Eija Hetekivi-Ohlsson, is to the fore in Olsson’s novel, too. Fitting into the ambiguous hierarchy at school and daring to follow one’s own desire are the core themes of the plot, which captures the two protagonists’ longing and shame effectively and cinematically.
Olsson, whose poetic novel Ett litet hål i mörkret (A Tiny Hole in the Darkness, 2008) was nominated for the August Prize, is a master of minimalism. Her short sentences are infused with intense existential presence. Her voice is enjoyable to follow. She distils youth.