The Gravity of Love
Sara Stridsberg, Deborah Bragan-Turner
A dazzlingly inventive and acclaimed novel set in a Stockholm psychiatric hospital – by one of Sweden’s most exciting literary talents
“I’ll put my head in the oven so you know where I am,” he whispers, kissing her neck.
Jim – charming, captivating, much loved by his women friends – has attempted suicide several times. Over his period of incarceration at the Beckomberga hospital for the mentally unstable, he voices his determination to succeed. Some day soon, he tells his daughter – as he has earlier told his mother and his wife – he will swallow sixty tablets, help them down with a bottle of whisky, and swim impossibly far out into the Atlantic.
Will he, really?
This question plagues Jim’s daughter, the narrator of this powerful novel, who is as addicted to the hospital as her father is to alcohol. Through her subtle observations we understand the emotional needs of diehard alcoholics, the rationally uxoricidal, and other seemingly normal inhabitants of a psychiatric unit in the process of shutting down, depriving them of the only place they have known as home.
A Magic Mountain for our times, for readers of Eimear McBride and Alexander Masters.
Translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragan-Turner
Brave and original, her steeliness a refreshing, if tough, alternative to sentimentality . . . A book which is courageous, intelligent and ultimately about making the best of life -- Alastair Mabbott * Herald (Glasgow) * A beautiful novel. Beautiful because its metallic colours gleam like tinsel in the language, like silver foil wrapped around a piece of hashish * Dagens Nyheter * Immersing herself in the story of psychology, Stridsberg revisits six decades of taboos, suffering and change. Her language never once succumbs to the macabre * Livres Hebdo * As a critic, it is hard for me to find the words to describe Stridsberg's prose . . . it is pure bliss * Politiken *
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