Thursday, 14 October 2010

Book Review: Och jag läste att det var omöjligt att leva lycklig förutan dig (And I read that it was impossible to live happily without you)


Och jag läste att det var omöjligt att leva lycklig förutan dig (And I read that it was impossible to live happily without you) by Mark Levengood

Publisher: Pirat Förlaget

Category: Short stories (causeries)

Challenges: GLBT Challenge

My Thoughts: I want to call this collection a book of short stories but that isn’t quite right. The author often does “Thoughts for the Day” (Tankar för dagen) on Swedish Radio P1 and many of the stories in this collection come from these thoughts. Each story is very short (none longer than four pages and that includes artwork). Each story does have a point, usually something fairly superficial but at the same time incredibly profound. Something worth thinking about.

Many of the stories tell of cultural peculiarities to Sweden and Finland (Levengood is from Finland but lives in Sweden). There is a particularly funny story about winter and him wanting to curl up next to the boiler in cased in all their blanket while his husband is outside comparing frostbite stories with the neighbour. I’m pretty sure it looses something in the context.

For those who don’t know Mark Levengood is a bit of a tv profile here in Sweden and he always comes across as an incredibly nice and genuine person. He has done children’s programs and he is the voice over on the Swedish versions of the Moomin movies. He speaks with Finnish accent and quite a soft voice. It is very distinct and while reading the book I kept hearing the voice. Has that ever happened to you? That you hear the voice of the author? It made for a very interesting read.

Unfortunately this book has not been translated into English but I think it would work quite well in some respects. In others there might be some problems, especially around some of the cultural aspects that people here get straight away.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Carin B. said...

Are all the thoughts/short stories based on his own experiences, or are they fictional? The cover looks like a card to me. Nice and peaceful. :)

I need to see this Moomin thing. I keep seeing everyone talk about it and I don't think I've ever seen it. I guess a trip to YouTube is in order for me!

Anonymous said...

If I know how the author speaks I sometimes hear the voice, yes. I do wish they would translate more Swedish books. I guess they are becoming more popular? But maybe only the thrillers?

Zee said...

Carin I think the stories are based in reality but I wouldn't call them truth if that makes sense? :) I'm (apparently) weird, I don't like the Moomin Trolls. But I've come across it honestly, neither my mum nor my grandmother likes them :D

Iris right now I think it is mostly crime thrillers that are being translated but I hope as people discover Swedish authors that there will be more of a pull for other authors as well. That the Swedish publishers can get some good relationships with English language publishers and get some of their other books published. I think Pirat Förlaget who published this book has a good opportunity since they are Liza Marklunds Swedish publishers. Fingers crossed :D

queercult said...

Have they ever translated Jonas Gardell into English either? I really liked En komikers uppväxt, despite being an American and growing up in the U.S., it still struck me as quite universal somehow. Sad, funny. It reminded me of my childhood, how it was when I grew up in suburban Chicago.