”…a kind of male melancholia…”
The middleaged writer Peter remembers staying with his parents as a young man in the bewildering summer of 1988, when Peter’s father breaks his habit of every morning presenting his mother with a freshly picked rose.
Peter of today spends a lot of time in the laundry room, where he washes his family’s clothes and reads poetry. There is both tenderness and helplessness in the encounters with the grown-up children, yet the gap between them grows irrevobaly, as they embark on lives of their own. With loving attention Peter registrers traces in the house left by his wife Zebra. She is 49 years old and pregnant, and occasionally returns home from visiting ”someone called Mäkinen”.
In the passages from the past Peter is looking forward to life, today he is in melancholy contemplation of how his life turned out. As in his earlier novels the author ponders on the big existential topics, Love, Death and Life’s brevity.
Sandström’s beautiful prose wraps small details in a sensual, tender glow which is evident also in the more burlesque, absurd passages, like in the hilarious road-trip father and son undertake.
Finnish critics have marked his writing, desolate and fateful as it might seem, as a kind of ”southern gothic of Österbotten”. The movies of Aki Kaurismäki may also seem like spiritual allies.
The Finnish-Swedish author Peter Sandström (born 1963) lives in Turku. He has written short stories and several novels, one of which was shortlisted for the Nordic Council Literature Prize.
”… a naked and immediate authenticity…”
”The movements between the trivial and the tragic are subtle and soon dissolve.”
“In Autumn Apples a middle-aged man seeks to find his place in life, remembering the past and taking his bearings in the present. There is no right answer, no straight path to follow, but Peter Sandström’s depiction of the man’s quest is an excellent read. His beautiful prose is spare, and with no unnecessary words he effortlessly takes minute details from those around him, refining them and letting them grow in scope.”
“Peter Sandström’s main character possesses a vast, intricate knowledge of his own family, an imperceptible attention to detail that is very much like love. […] In Autumn Apples, the author gives us an even deeper insight into the multi-layered ambivalences of his literary world”.
“Ultimately, Sandström’s well-balanced prose is a joy to read, […] producing a memorable novel that is both entertaining and sad, without striking a jarring note”.
“In Peter Sandström’s glittering language, moods are captured with similes and associations. With almost archaic precision he portrays the various nuances, shifts and distractions of life. The result is a text to be savored slowly. Definitely full marks for Autumn Apples. Read it and enjoy!”
Phone: +46 70-669 05 68
10 December 2016