“The epic storyteller Sweden has been waiting for” – SvD
Sweden’s mass-produced suburbs and Habsburg royalty. Augustin Erba creates unexpected connections the way only great storytellers can.
Little Amadeus’ father is an Egyptian nuclear physicist and his mother as neurotic as she is aristocratic, a direct descendant of Austro-Hungarian nobility. He grows up with one foot in a deprived suburb and the other in the posh, inner city French School, where he is brutally bullied. A double life lived between two parents, one of whom dreams of him being a mathematical genius while the other thinks of him as a temporarily exiled blue blood.
Blood Bound is a funny, tender and moving coming-of-age story that switches between two alternating narrative strands, between past and present, between childhood and adulthood. Its short, intense chapters are written with a driving rhythm that propels both plot and reading.
Amadeus coming of age is a protracted, dogged fight against his childhood demons and a tireless wrestling match with a too-dominant mother figure, a woman who seems to personify self-deception and manipulation and lives off the past glories of her highborn family. Caught in this maelstrom, Amadeus is the kind of boy who is always the best in his class, always acts responsibly, never hits back, endures everything and even arranges his father’s funeral, because his mother is taken ill with a migraine whenever life or duty calls.
Mirroring this childhood narrative is the story of grown-up Augustin, who meets the love of his life. He is conscious of his rare and wondrous happiness and strives to take responsibility for his relationship with his beloved wife and their children, to build a more stable life with room for love to grow.
Blood Bound is a story about never losing hope. With great presence, deep empathy and dark humour, Augustin Erba tackles questions of heritage, family and intimacy.
“The epic storyteller Sweden has been waiting for”
“This novel about how a boy growing up in a society that cannot see what is happening behind the facades it has built, about how profoundly a new understanding of family, gender and childhood can transform our lives, is also a historical narrative about how the political becomes personal. A sincerely intended roadmap for building a better world. It will have many, many readers”
“I cry while I read, but by the time I reach the end, I still feel hopeful. It’s been a long time since a novel moved me this way.”
“The coolly detached, everyday language and the fast-paced narrative technique stands in stark contrast to the achingly heart-rending subject. All you can do is sit there. Numb and helpless in the face of what little Amadeus and his two younger siblings have to go through. In the face of the authenticity of the description of his adult life and its impossible choices.”
“I’m happy to be deceived by an author, so long as text and composition has this level of vigour. This is stylistic perfection”
German rights sold to Ullstein
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13 August 2018