ORIGINAL TITLE: Sveas son
AUTHOR: Lena Andersson
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Polaris
Svea’s Son is a generational novel by the award-winning author Lena Andersson. It is a razor-sharp comedic rendering of the progress and ruin of the industrial welfare state. A much-anticipated novel by one of our time’s most perceptive chroniclers of society. After more than 500 000 copies sold of her previous works, August Prize recipient Lena Andersson is back, with her trademark cutting wit intact.
Ragnar Johansson is born in 1932, a transformative moment in Swedish history. He has Swedish social democracy flowing through his veins – convinced it lifts mankind out of the dark ages and into modernity, he cherishes it. At times Ragnar despises his baking, scrubbing and canning mother Svea, who represents the poverty of the peasantry. Ragnar, on his part, hails the efficiency of washing machines and prefab food. Once Ragnar has children himself, he raises them in accordance with his values, standing in the ski track supporting his daughter Elsa as she works hard to become one of the best skiers in the country. While mother Svea is a relic of the past, Elsa represents hope for the future. In time, however, Ragnar realizes that the world is changing. Is his golden age coming to an end?
Lena Andersson was effusively praised for her books about the lovesick Ester Nilsson. In Svea’s Son, she delivers a funny, wise, and moving family chronicle about the social transformations that unite and divide us from one another, and about finding the courage to be true to oneself.
“…what unites the two Esther novels and Svea’s Son is the issue of being true to oneself, of daring to and being able to. And what this modern possibility of truth – we might call it self-realization – demands to become possible. A society with a strong state? Trust? Inner stature? … This spring, the author Lena Andersson is travelling around as if on her own campaign trail, talking about the book. It is sure to cause interesting discussions – this is a novel that calls out to a collective readership".
“This is what makes Lena Andersson a great novelist: time and again, her characters defiantly find a mirror in which they begin speaking in the author’s own voice, from a powerful inner urge.”
“It is gripping – and wonderfully contradictory – how Ragnar in time finds solace and pleasure in consenting to the ‘idea that you are what you say and feel that you are, and that everything is subjective and relative’. And in the end, Ragnar paints flowers on his geometric woodwork.”
“Eloquent, funny, and sharp analysis of the development of the Swedish welfare state.”
“Elegant novel with great value of transference ... a book about everyone, for everyone ... Through three generations... Lena Andersson deftly depicts the rise and fall of social democracy”
“The novel is critical, funny, sad, and frightening. For those of us who once thought that all good things come from Sweden, though we didn’t know why, [Svea’s Son] is entertainingly and keenly informative.”
Danish rights sold to C&K
Finnish rights sold to Siltala
German rights sold to BTB/Luchterhand
Lithuainian rights sold to Lithuanian Writers’ Union Publishers
Norwegian rights sold to Gyldendal
Swedish rights sold to Polaris
World English rights sold to Other Press