Kjell Westö
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  • Kjell Westö - Hägring 38

Hägring 38

(Mirage 38)

2013

Winner of the 2014 Nordic Council Literature Prize, nominated for the Finlandia Prize and Sweden’s August Prize 2013

Kjell Westö - Hägring 38
 
 

“Kjell Westö has a rich language that can convey everything, even the lifelike settings, everyday conversations, protagonists’ thoughts and feelings, even images of society. He has a profound knowledge of history and politics, and he shows again and again how Finland’s bloody past affects people in the here and now.”
—Monika Tunbäck-Hanson, Göteborgsposten newspaper (Sweden)

”In Hägring 38 Kjell Westö distils the central themes from his previous historical novels into a well-composed, spare entity that feels new and exciting as a thriller. He creates a plot that branches into time and space yet always works its way towards the tragic, vaguely intuited yet unexpected ending.”
—Tuva Korsström, Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper (Finland)

“They’ve invented a time machine. Its name is Kjell Westö. As you go round decades-past Helsinki via his writing, you can be certain the details are right. He has already written several weighty novels about his turf, and sticklers hunting for anachronisms have not spotted anything out of place. […] Westö gives his characters conflicting alternative faces, and the distances between them develop into a chamber play that can be read as a thriller. Westö hasn’t written anything like this before. This exciting masquerade and costume drama does not tread the usual path: we know there are shots fired, but not who is intended to die.”
—Antti Majander, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper (Finland)

“Finland-Swedish world literature […] an elegant and logical composition, a gripping story.”
—Karl-Markus Gauss, Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper (Switzerland)

“That’s what’s thrilling about the excellent storyteller that is Kjell Westö […] He transports us far away, to Finland at the start of the 20th century. And he tells us about ourselves. About our times […] It’s gripping. And chilling.”
—Florence Noiville, Le Monde (France)

“It’s really gripping, but in a slow, extended way that means the ‘thriller’ designation should be taken with a pinch of salt. It does, however, represent a new stage in Westö’s writing, and a very successful one at that. The slightly more terse, concentrated style is an excellent fit for him, and of course he has thoroughly mastered the thriller genre.”
—Jan Arnald, Dagens Nyheter newspaper (Sweden)

“Westö, who is known for his powerful novels about Helsinki, has picked his country’s most powerful subject matter for a decidedly literary treatment. His prose is restrained and undramatic, lending the portrayal a particular authority. The compressed timeline creates a condensed portrait of an era filled with an impressive amount of detail.”
—Jes Stein Pedersen, Politiken newspaper (Denmark)