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Rave reviews for Jerker Virdborgs Summer, Sister

21 September 2017

Jerker Virdborg’s highly anticipated novel Summer, Sister has received rave reviews since it was published in Sweden (Albert Bonniers förlag) earlier this month.

Virdborg has one of the most talented voices of contemporary Swedish writers. He is an expert proponent of the ‘hardboiled’ style, without ever compromising with language or psychology. Capable of creating breathless suspense, his greatest skills lie in his ability to keep the reader constantly thirsting for more.

These quotes speak for themselves:

“Our starting point is in the middle of events; an arms deal carried out in the shadow of an constant, underlying threat – that things could turn violent at any minute. In the space of just a few pages, the main characters, their personalities and their relationships are introduced through the narrative. Then comes the escape: a brother makes his way through hostile territory, accompanied by his elder sister. She is the stronger of the two; he is our narrator. The siblings make their way through a Sweden laid waste by war or a catastrophe of some kind.  There is no force-feeding of details here; the backstory is gradually presented in a series of flashbacks. The result is exciting, and it is told in a pitch-perfect voice. Virdborg is an expert proponent of the ‘hardboiled’ style, but here neither language nor psychology are overlooked. Indeed, this is an example of that rare feat – a literary page-turner. There are few authors of his ilk in Sweden, and surely none who can match Virdborg’s sense keeping the story forwards, pulling the reader along with it. His greatest skill lies not in the crafting of action scenes, but in his ability to keep the reader constantly thirsting – craving – to find out more.”

– Vi Magazine

“It is not classic dystopias that come to mind reading Summer, sister. Rather, I think of Kerstin Ekman’s Blackwater. The black lakes, the dark powers, and the abundant taxonomy of plants cause that association. In addition, Virdborg, just as Ekman, is capable of creating breathless suspense. I wait in trembling silence alongside the novel’s characters as they risk being discovered by the enemy. I flex my calves as they prepare to leap over a creek. It is, simply put, engaging.”

– Dagens Nyheter

“I catch myself reading Summer, sister like an adventure novel rather than a depiction of human suffering in a condition of war. Jerker Virdborg is, as always, a skilled storyteller. Few can convey claustrophobic situations like he can.”

– Kulturnytt, Sveriges Radio

“The book is so suspenseful that I read it in one go. I kept it in my hand as I stacked the dishwasher, among the shelves of the supermarket, beneath the steps of the apartment with the kids romping around me.”

– Expressen

“Virdborg portrays the strong but unequal relationship between two very different siblings with great tenderness. He also depicts Swedish nature with a wealth of detail and mournful presence that makes the story vibrate with apocalyptic beauty.”

– Sydsvenska Dagbladet

“An ambitious literary novel that uses all available tools to attract people to literature. We can’t get enough of these kinds of novels.”

– Dala-Demokraten

“It is suspenseful, wickedly suspenseful. Jerker Virdborg has always had a page turner quality…”

– Kristianstadsbladet

“I am delighted by this book, in which the master of repressed undercurrents and charged suggestions, expresses and divulges his entire story.”

– Svenska Dagbladet

“Epic craftsmanship.”

– Kvällsposten

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