ORIGINAL TITLE: Försmådd
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Albert Bonniers Förlag
Ingvar, the narrator of Hans Gunnarsson’s new novel, is a history teacher who is getting old and also not getting on so very well with his pupils and colleagues. There is one glaring exception: Stina, the school’s Head Mistress, is even more remote from her surroundings and carefully guards her privacy. When one day Ingvar decides to throw caution to the wind and cycle over to her house, a persistent but also tragicomic courtship begins, which soon takes the form of a disturbing investigation. Or, as Ingvar puts it himself, an ‘evil farce’. Soon he is helplessly caught up in his spying and entirely obsessed with Stina’s mysterious activities.
One day he is caught out when someone comes back after he has managed to get inside Stina’s house. Quickly he hides under the bed:
In the next moment the bedspread was thrown off the bed and I thought to myself while keeping my eyes firmly shut: I’ll play dead, then they’ll have to bloody drag me out into the light.
But it was not for me that the cover had been removed. It was for them and their lusts. With a great groan and creak they fell into the bed and I had to twist my head to avoid having my nose broken as they started tumbling around.
I was a history teacher. A thinking, reflecting human being.
So how the hell had I ended up in this soup?
In Spurned Hans Gunnarsson captures with equal humour and blackness an individual finding himself in the gap between frustrating insight and horrifying delusion.