The Gravity of Love – Ode to my Family
ORIGINAL TITLE: Beckomberga – Ode till min familj
AUTHOR: Sara Stridsberg
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Albert Bonniers Förlag
The doctor in charge is Edvard Winterson. On some evenings he takes Jim and a few other patients to big parties in town. As soon as they pass the gates in Edvard’s car, the first bottle of champagne is opened in the back seat. “A night outside the hospital walls will make you human again,” he says to his patients.
At the hospital we also meet Inger Vogel, an “angelic nurse in clogs” who seems to inhabit the twilight zone between order and devastation; and the patient Sabina, the object of desire of both Jimmie and Dr Winterson, with her beads, her archery and obsession with freedom and death.
The Gravity of Love – Ode to my Family explores Jackie’s love for Jim and the way she reaches out for him, as a child and as a grown woman and mother. In Sara Stridsberg’s breathtakingly beautiful novel, the psychiatric hospital, set in a lovely park close to a lake, takes on almost mythical dimensions, both as a punishing angel and as a rescuer seeking to save distraught souls as in an old utopian vision.