Tomas Bannerhed’s The Yearning is a fascinating novel about the balancing act between madness and normality. It is a brutal portrayal of male loneliness and of the yearning for a connection and a sense of belonging.
Urban has moved from the countryside to the city in order to start a new life. He is fleeing his past, in particular his mother, who writes to him from a mental institution. Letters he reads but never answers.
He is mourning a relationship that fell apart and looking for love once again, and simultaneously develops a very peculiar passion for collecting bird eggs. He observes his collection and contemplates how to approach the woman he desires, perhaps over a glass of bittersweet Marinella? He is alone and lonely.
What happens to a person who both physically and emotionally finds himself forced to leave his past and everyone he has known? The Yearningis a novel that dares to expose deep loneliness and the constant yearning for belonging and love. It is an unusual novel, in equal measure liberatingly naked and uncomfortably uncanny, as it invites the reader deep inside a person’s uncensored, innermost space. We dare guarantee you have never read anything quite like it.
It took Tomas Bannerhed ten years to write The Ravens. It took him seven to write The Yearning. The novels spring from the same source, deep inside the author. The Yearningis about the city’s promise of freedom transformed into obliterating loneliness. About a young man living under dual threats: to lose his mind like his mother, whose letters from the institution he reads but cannot bring himself to answer; and to be rejected by women. One cannot plunge deeper into a sensitive mind than Bannerhed does in his fiction.
“It is a modern and urbane loneliness, which Bannerhed penetrates in this novel. In a prose style as light as it is elegant, and with a sharp eye for significative detail, the writer drives the narrative onward to its fateful ending.”
“It’s a novel that takes risks. It is courageously pitched in a sentimental tone that would be frustrating and cloying were it not for the large dose of unnerving madness at its core. The themes are reflected in details and snippets of dialogue which are often over-explicit in their symbolism, of which the name of the main character is one example. […] Even if it seems that Bannerhed has been overgenerous in sprinkling symbolic ingredients throughout the work, there is an emotional force in the narrative which is pure knock-out. I feel both touched and disturbed. It’s a long time since a novel affected me so much.”
“Above all in this novel, Bannerhed delves deep into the subject of loneliness, a subject on which society places such taboos. It’s loneliness of a type that is neither exalted nor voluntarily chosen – or a hastily passing phase – but rather shameful, dirty and ultimately pathological. […] Only a good writer, and a polished stylist, has the skill to characterise an individual such as Urban in the accomplished manner of Tomas Bannerhed; it’s all too easy to have such a character become either worthy of our sympathies, or else diabolical. One or the other, and in both cases diminished as a mere fellow traveller. Bannerhed does not engage in such simplifications, he forces us to see Urban in fully fleshed-out form; intelligent and sensitive, clumsy and genuinely unpleasant.”
” The passage of time and inexorable presence of death is entirely tangible in the work of the existentialist Bannerhed. Enduring beauty is superbly contrasted with the dreariness of human decay. All shall once more come to pass, with the exception of the individual lifespan. Life continues. Without you and I. Bannerhed writes so damn well. I feel a greater appreciation for “Lugnet” than “Korparna”, for its concise characterisation of human loneliness. But it’s a profoundly unsettling read.”
“As a stylistBannerhed is impressive. He precisely captures the tone of the unstable mother, which is pleading and flighty all at the same time. (“It would be a pleasure if you want to visit some time. You don’t have to stay too long.”) He is equally precise as he portrays the tense manner in which Urban speaks to Sonja and her way of responding to him as “different” and an “empathic” guy.[…]“Lugnet” is the second novel in a highly promising authorship.”
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