Svenska Kulter - Anders Fager I spent the weekend in Sweden, and luckily went back to my old habit of going through the "On Sale"-box at book stores. I don't do that in Norway, because all the books they put on sale are 1) crap and 2) still expensive. Thanks to this ingrained book searching instinct of mine I found this gem of a book in one of those boxes, and I am stunned. Normally, I am not a short story person. I often buy collections of short stories, but I never actually read them.

This book has a clever cover, a clever title, and is cleverly structured. After 2 pages of short story 1, I was both smiling ruefully, hoping no one could see the text as I was reading, and very, very intrigued. And it continues that way. Every short story is mysterious, and they are all equally good, which is quite unusual. There are devils, monsters, werewolves, saami magic, curses - but nothing is spoken out loud. You keep waiting for some revelation to come so that you truly understand wtf is going on. Partly, this makes the book a little bit hard to read. Information is *never* spelled out, you really have to catch the small print that's more or less an echo of something someone says. Speed-reading this? Not a good idea. Also, for non-natives, it could be frustrating. (As long as you know that there is a certain difficulty, I think you'll be fine. It's not you, it's the book.) Some of the stories are interconnected, making it even more interesting. And it's so obviously Sweden. This is no wannabe goth dark underworld whatever, it's ultraordinary, good old Sweden, with lots of dangerous and seriously creepy people that no one has a clue exist.

Furthermore, the writer has a particular style. Had I written that way in school, my text would have been marked for incorrect sentence structure, but when you're an author, other rules apply. The author uses a combination of ordinary, coordinated sentences, and short, abrupt incomplete phrases. He also consciously mixes tenses. The dialogue is actually dialogue, it's sloppy and full of semi-sentences, the way actual colloquial speak is. And the book is full of modern Scandinavian obscenities. Of course, all of this makes me very happy.

I'm actually sad this book is over.