Wednesday, 21 January 2009


(Virtual Tour 2009 - Around Europe without Leaving Your House)
To choose a book written by a Swedish writer was really easy, I have my favourite contemporary Swedish author – Karin Alvtegen.

Several years ago I accidentally got a book called ‘Missing’. I thought it would be just another detective story that you read and later on forget, but it wasn’t. ‘Missing’ was a book that grabs you in the very beginning of the story and at the end of it you are really disappointed it’s over. I liked it so much I searched for the other books written by this author.

Karin Alvtegen’s books contain lots of feelings and emotions, usually not the one’s you’d gladly talk about. You would probably agree with me if you heard such book titles as ‘Guilt’, ‘Betrayal’ and ‘Shame’. By the way, the later is the one that kept me on the edge – some of the things described there are truly horrible, none the less I’m sure they exist: parents making their children suffer, lonely people in the busy 21st century World and accidents that can change our lives forever. It’s a book that might be read in one go, but I’m sure that in your mind you will keep coming back to it for a long time… Trained as a psychologist I keep making a list of books that should be read by my school fellows and ‘Shame’ is at the top of it!

Review (for the impatient)
Monica, is a successful, well regarded surgeon and physician who is ashamed of something in her past. She can't develop any meaningful relationships with anyone and pushes anyone who gets close, quickly away.
Maj-Britt, hiding from the world behind an endless supply of food requires help just to live, she is so obese. Locked in her apartment away from the world, Maj-Britt is deeply ashamed of something in her past.
Monica and Maj-Britt don't know each other, yet somehow, because of a conference, a car-accident and a care-worker, they briefly collide. The results of that collision, catastrophic for one in the short term, force both of them to confront the past and deal with their personal shame.
SHAME is not a novel for readers who like a murder right up there are the front of the book, with an investigation to resolve the crime. There really is no murder in SHAME, but there is death, sadness, despair, personal angst and profound tragedy and sorrow.

SHAME takes you carefully through the lives of Monica and Maj-Britt, revealing the events that lead to the shame that they each feel, and what has happened to each of them since. As those events are revealed, a connection between the two women slowly eventuates. The connection could save them, or it could destroy them both.
With elements of fear, oppressive religion, obsession, betrayal, sexuality, guilt, family dysfunction and emotional blackmail, SHAME is challenging and sometimes harrowing. It is also compelling, taut, intriguing and, ultimately, uplifting.

Karen Chisholm, Australia

For more information about Karin Alvtegen please visit her official website -
So I can cross out one country in my long list… Not too bad, but this one was easy, I wonder how I’m going to get on with the others…

(I guess one more reason why I started with Sweden is that I got acquainted with their literature in my childhood. Then as my favourite author I would have named Astrid Lindgren. Later in my life I got really interested in Selma Lagerliof’s creations. So if you decide to take the virtual tour and can’t get hold of any Karin Alvtegen’s books I would recommend you to find something by Selma Lagerliof – ‘The emperor of Portugallia’, ‘The story of Gösta Berling’ or ‘The ring of the Löwenskölds’.)

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