ORIGINAL TITLE: Havsmannen
AUTHOR: Carl-Johan Vallgren
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Albert Bonniers Förlag
The setting is the early 1980s, in a small town on the west coast of Sweden. Here Nella and her brother Robert live with their parents under harsh circumstances. Robert is being badly harassed at school, and Nella has to go into debt to save her younger brother from his tormentors.
“At its heart, it is a wonderful character-driven story. As Nella is drawn deeper into the plot, the more the reader is drawn in along with her. The emotional immediacy of it all makes for an enveloping adventure on a very human scale.
–Edinburgh Book Review
“..an intense little gem… when the Merman enters the scene, Vallgren succeeds – against all the odds – in shifting social realism towards the metaphysical. It takes a brave literary hand to do that sort of thing, and he’s still got it. And he succeeds. The Merman remains genuinely readable right up to the very end.“
-Arne Dahl/Jan Arnald, Dagens Nyheter
“How does one mix Swedish hyperrealism – the neglect and bullying of small children in the state – with a beast straight out of the fantasy genre? The answer is quite simply ‘art’, it cannot be explained in any other way. The writer manages here to do what only great writers can do… From here on I will be reading all of Vallgren’s books..“