2017:1 Issue

Editorial2017:1 Issue

As 2017 gets under way, we focus on the literary art of Swedish fiction and feature a selection of recent work by six exciting contemporary authors. Stina Stoor is a vibrant new voice from northern Sweden,with roots in three Nordic minorities – the indigenous Sami, Swedish-speakers on the Finnish coast and Meänkieli speakers from the northernmost part of Sweden along the Torne valley. Her award-winning short stories paint a unique picture of the people and natural world of her home region.

In this troubled age we are shocked by daily news stories of the dreadful plight of refugees. Dimitris Alevras’s debut novel gives an intense, thought- provoking and painful depiction of the horrors and risks for those seeking refuge in Europe in the 20th century.

Mattias Edvardsson’s latest book is his third adult novel, a cleverly written whodunit set in the world of literature and publishing.Kai Erik’s second novel is a coming-of-age tale of friendship in a small town in Finland and a gripping fantasy thriller. For historical romance, we turn to Carl-Michael Edenborg’s entertaining novel, the second under his own name, and find alchemy – the subject of the author’s PhD thesis – at its heart. Equally detailed research is evident in Elisabeth Östnäs’s vivid depiction of the Viking Age in the second novel of a prize-winning trilogy for young adults.

Behind the extracts in every issue of SBR are the translators, often at very different stages in their careers, sometimes balancing more than one job, all with a passion for Swedish literature and a wish to make it available more widely. In this issue we are delighted to invite our readers to look into the working lives of two very distinguished translators, Sarah Death and Janny Middelbeek-Oortgiesen, who, over long and successful careers, have clocked up a staggering number of literary translations into English and Dutch respectively.


from Beasts

Introduced and Translated by Nichola Smalley

Stina Stoor is a true original, someone set to have a major impact in Swedish literature. Her confident debut story Beasts portrays a world normally absent from literature: a working-class community in the rural north of Sweden. Nichola Smalley introduces the author and presents an extract from her translation of Beasts.


from The Time of War (The Saga of Turid, vol. 2)

Introduced and Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

The Saga of Turid is a tale of a curious, kind and fiercely intelligent young woman who finds herself questioning elements of the society where her father is king. Elisabeth Östnäs's meticulous attention to the details of daily Viking life ensures that the reader is immersed in Turid's world. Rachel Willson-Broyles introduces The Time of War, volume 2 of the saga, and presents her translation of the first chapter.


from An Almost True Story

Introduced and Translated by Alice Menzies

This cleverly written whodunnit set in the world of literature and publishing is Edvardsson's third adult novel. It weaves together the past and the present to reveal gradually the events of a few short months in Lund, where Zackarias Levin has just begun a course in creative writing at the university. When a famous author close to their professor goes missing, Zackarias and his classmates find themselves caught up in the drama. Alice Menzies introduces the novel and presents her translation of the opening.


from The World's Last Night

Introduced and Translated by B J Epstein

This debut novel by Dimitris Alveras is a book filled with motion and action - the children of Greek partisans sneak into Sweden into the 1970s and try to build a life there. While the novel is not about the current refugee crisis, it speaks to some of the same issues, and is also a human tale in that it shows not all dreams can be achieved. B J Epstein introduces the work and presents her translation of an extract.


A Career in Swedish Literary Translation

Ian Giles interviews Sarah Death

Sarah Death has been a literary translator of Swedish since the 1990s and has published 36 books in English translation from Swedish and Norwegian. Sarah was editor of Swedish Book Review from 2003 to 2014, and was awarded the Order of the Polar Star in 2014. This is an adapted and edited version of a public event hosted by the University of Edinburgh's Scandinavian Studies department in 2015 in which Sarah Death was in conversation with Ian Giles.


from The Alchemist's Daughter

Introduced and Translated by Fiona Graham

The Alchemist's Daughter, set at the end of the eighteenth century, is a dark tale of a young noblewoman, the last in a line of Manichaean alchemists, whose late father ordered her to destroy the world through alchemy. The work is a kind of Bildungsroman, in which the heroine travels across Europe to study the occult arts, and, eventually, to liberate herself from her father's influence. Fiona Graham introduces the novel and presents her translation of one chapter.


The Translator At Work: A Day in the Life of a Translator

Janny Middelbeek-Oortgiesen has translated almost sixty books of Swedish fiction and non-fiction and non-fiction into Dutch. She was awarded the prestigious Swedish Academy Translation Prize in 2013. Through Janny's eyes we look at a day in the life of a translator.


from The Grass is Darker on the Other Side

Translated by Michael Owen Jones

Kai Erik, formerly known as Kaj Korkea-aho, is a writer, comedian and popular columnist. His novels have been described as tragic, funny and unsettling. Michael Owen Jones presents his translation of an extract from The Grass is Darker on the Other Side, a coming-of-age story in which the people of Gränby in western Finland are taking part in the Great Lakes Run, following the disconcerting experience of an earthquake. An omen, perhaps?


In Memoriam: George C Schoolfield 1925-2016

Ross Shideler remembers the life and work of George Schoolfield, the witty king of Scandinavian Studies outside of Scandinavia, who passed away in July 2016.


In Memoriam: Patricia Crampton 1925-2016

We present a tribute to Patricia Crampton, who translated over 200 children's books and more than 50 adult books from a variety of European languages, winning numerous awards. Patricia died in December 2016.

BOOKSHELF: REVIEWS, edited by Fiona Graham

De polyglotta älskarnaLina Wolff, De polyglotta älskarna (The Polyglot Lovers)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Kevin Halliwell ▸Read Review

AftonlandTherese Bohman, Aftonland (Eventide)

Norstedts förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review

Dagar utan ljus, nättar utan mörkerDavid Norlin, Dagar utan ljus, nättar utan mörker (Days Without Light, Nights Without Darkness)

Weyler, 2015.

Reviewed by Hannah Charlton ▸Read Review

Elefantens fotMadeleine Hessérus, Elefantens fot (The Elephant's Foot)

Natur & Kultur, 2016.

Reviewed by Deborah Bragan-Turner ▸Read Review

Luften är friSara Lövestam, Luften är fri (The Air is Free)

Piratförlaget, 2016.

Reviewed by James Walker ▸Read Review

Korta StyckenJohan Bargum, Korta Stycken (Brief Notes)

Förlaget (Finland), 2016.

Reviewed by Joanna Flower ▸Read Review

In TransitHannele Mikaela Taivassalo, In Transit (In Transit)

Förlaget (Finland), 2016.

Reviewed by Claire Dickenson ▸Read Review

Djävulen är en lögnareSara Razai, Djävulen är en lögnare (The Devil is a Liar)

Förlaget (Finland), 2016.

Reviewed by Darcy Hurford ▸Read Review

och vi fortsatte att göra någonting rörandeElis Burrau, och vi fortsatte att göra någonting rörande (and we continued doing something moving)

CL(P) Works, 2016.

Reviewed by Anna Tebelius ▸Read Review

FattigfällanCharlotta von Zweigbergk, Fattigfällan (The Poverty Trap)

Ordfront, 2016.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review

Käraste Herman. Rasbiologen Herman Lundborgs gåtaMaja Hagerman, Käraste Herman. Rasbiologen Herman Lundborgs gåta (Dearest Herman: The Enigma of Race Biologist Herman Lundborg)

Norstedts, 2016.

Reviewed by John Gilmour ▸Read Review

1947Elisabeth Åsbrink, 1947 (1947: When Now Begins)

Natur & Kultur, 2016.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review

Jag var precis som duNegra Efendić, Jag var precis som du (I Was Just Like You)

Natur & Kultur, 2016.

Reviewed by Tuva Tod ▸Read Review

Djur som ingen sett utom viUlf Stark (author) and Linda Bondestam (illustrator), Djur som ingen sett utom vi (Animals No-One Has Seen Except Us)

Förlaget, Helsinki and Berghs Förlag, Stockholm, 2016.

Reviewed by Martin Murrell ▸Read Review

Jag, Fidel och SkogenLena Frölander-Ulf, Jag, Fidel och Skogen (Me, Fidel and the Forest)

Schildts & Söderströms, 2016.

Reviewed by Charlotte Berry ▸Read Review

MiddagsmörkerCharlotte Cederlund, Middagsmörker (Polar Night)

Opal, 2016.

Reviewed by Alex Fleming ▸Read Review

Sagan om Turid: KrigstidElisabeth Östnäs, Sagan om Turid: Krigstid (The Saga of Turid: Times of War)

Berghs förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Annie Prime ▸Read Review

Naondel: Krönikor från röda klostretMaria Turtschaninoff, Naondel: Krönikor från röda klostret (Naondel: The Red Abbey Chronicles)

Förlaget (Finland), 2016.

Reviewed by Kate Lambert ▸Read Review

MornitologenJohanna Thydell, Mornitologen (The Mother Watcher)

Alfabeta Bokförlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Margaret Dahlström ▸Read Review

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