fredag den 18. september 2009

Inger Frimansson, De nøgne kvinders ø (2008)


Denne psykologiske thriller er den svenske forfatters niende bog.

Forfatteren Tobias Elmkvist vender tilbage til sit barndomshjem for at hjælpe sin far, som har været ude for en ulykke, med det lille, gammeldags landbrug. Det er ikke let at vende tilbage, og Tobias føler sig utilpas og kejtet sammen med sin bryske far, hans langt yngre kæreste Sabina, hendes udviklingshæmmede søn og den temmelig aggressive medhjælp, Hardy.

Bogens titel hentyder til Skamøen, den lille ø hvor Tobias´ far lader sine stude græsse om sommeren, men hvor man i gamle dage sejlede utugtige kvinder ud som straf, i hvert fald hvis man skal tro Hardy. Bogen byder på en fin skildring af miljøet i det nære samfund, hvor alle ved, hvad alle andre går og foretager sig, næsten før de selv har besluttet sig. Desuden antyder titlen et gennemgående tema i bogen: mænd, som føler sig forladt og svigtet af deres koner, og måske ønsker sig tilbage til en tid, hvor de ikke behøvede kæmpe for parforholdet, fordi kvinden var afhængig af sin forsørger.

I dette på mange måder dystre og truende miljø, befolket med stejle og temperamentsfulde personer, lægges der hurtigt op til drama. Tobias Elmkvist foretager sit første, ´lille´ fejltrin, vælger den dårligst tænkelige løsning på sine problemer og forsøger bagefter at vende tilbage til sin trygge forfattertilværelse i Stokholm, men snebolden er begyndt at rulle, og tilsyneladende er der ikke noget, som kan standse den uundgåelige nedtur.

Godt skruet sammen, men selv om man som læser ikke kan gætte præcist hvordan, står det hurtigt lidt for klart, at alt vil gå galt for Tobias. Desuden er den noget selvoptagne forfatter ikke ligefrem en hovedperson, læseren føler stor sympati for. Underholdende, men hurtigt læst spændingsroman af Frimanssons sædvanlige, dystopiske slags.

Inger Frimansson, Island of the Naked Women (2009).

This psychological thriller is the third book (out of nine) by the Swedish writer which has been translated into English.

The writer Tobias Elmkvist returns to his childhood home to help his father, who has had an accident, on his small, traditional farm. It is not easy to return to the country, and Tobias feels ill at ease and inadequate together with his blunt father, the father´s much younger partner, Sabina, her mentally handicapped son, and the oddly aggressive farmhand, Hardy.

The title of the book refers to “Shame Island” where Tobias´ father lets his cattle graze during the summer, but where immoral women were left in the past - if one is to believe Hardy. The book offers a fine depiction of the local environment where everybody knows everybody else´s business. Furthermore the title suggests a recurrent theme of the book: men who feel deserted by their wives and who may want to return to a time when they did not have to work for the relationship because women depended on their breadwinners.

In this quite sinister and threatening environment, populated by unyielding, temperamental characters, the scene is set for drama. Tobias Elmkvist makes his first ´small´ slip, chooses the worst solution to his problems and tries to return to his safe existence in Stockholm, but the snowball has begun gathering speed and nothing will stop his comedown.

Well turned out, but even though the reader may not be able to guess exactly how, it is soon clear that Tobias´ downfall is inevitable. Besides, the somewhat self-centred author is not exactly a character the reader feels sympathy for. An entertaining, but fast read of Frimansson´s usual dystopian kind.

Look here for a fine and thorough review in English: Maxine on EuroCrime

8 kommentarer:

Maxine sagde ...

Very insightful review, Dorte (and thank you for linking to mine!). I have finally submitted my review of Good Night My Darling to Euro Crime, and have just received the third book translated into english (the something in the water - knife or shadow, one or the other!). Looking forward to it, whichever it is. I hope some more get translated.

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine: thank you! I am reasonably satisfied with the content, but otherwise I felt it was a ´sloppy post´. I have been rather tired a few days, and I try to keep some space for writing fiction every week so some things will have to suffer.

Kerrie sagde ...

there is an award for you at Splashed and Lovely

Dorte H sagde ...

Kerrie; thank you very much!

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

There is an award for you at my Splashed and Lovely space.

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot; thank you so much!
As you will see, if you check my post of today, I had seen it in our FriendFeed room (a place I frequent quite often) and thought it was a good idea to add it :D

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

I love evil small towns! This sounds interesting--thanks for the review.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth: Frimansson is excellent at creating a sinister atmosphere. I liked it, but now I need something which is less dark. I wish I had a Myrtle Clover on my shelf! (a healthy, varied diet is the thing).