I am retracing my own steps for the first time. Biography is entering my life, although it is happening long after the biography in question, which now falls into step and irreverently pushes away what has been suppressed. It does not make excuses. Nor does it explain. It is true that on certain days I see the dead. At such times we are always in the same kitchen, the same living room, hall or bathroom. There is always blood. Or fresh-baked bread. Mother is covered in bruises. Or not. Father is having one of his episodes. We have a little kitchen table, four chairs and a stool. I sit on the stool. We lived in epic turns. It was heaven or hell, it was heaven in hell. Is it possible to write without giving pain to others, can one remember without causing hurt? The wounds are mine, just like this pen, and whoever writes also remembers, whoever writes selects words from the story, points the spotlight, erases and conserves. The others, those who wrote the scars, the subjects of this text, how can they reply or defend themselves? It is hardly possible, they are strangers, they are dead or have disappeared for other reasons.
In her October diary Susanna Alakoski describes her attempts to get closer to her teenage years. She spends time in the town where she grew up, she travels through Sweden. Throughout her laborious process of remembering and writing she sees a society where the same patterns still exist: people living in poverty, homelessness and invisibility.
“This book goes straight to the heart in its search for such painful experience. It is at the same time tortured and very hopeful.”
“But one can write as Alakoski does: going in hard, raw, with a sense of hopelessness but with political dreams intact. An important book.”
“It is immensely captivating to follow the demanding mental processes the writer goes through.”
“She has seen something and she has something inalienable to say.”
“In her book, Susanna Alakoski writes about her life and fate. She compares past with present. She hits us with her memories and reflections.”
“Quite possibly one of the most important books I have read in a very long time. It has been an age since this sense of fury, this sense of class, was articulated in this way. It hurts. It is real. It is cruel. It is stupendous.”
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