Saturday, 18 March 2017

"Blodsbunden" by Augustin Erba

"Here is a really good book", friend said and reached me the 539 pages. "Bonus is that I come from the same suburb."

I texted after maybe 7 turned pages: "You were right, it's great!"

There is a lot to like. The fly in the ointment is that on some pages (one chapter is one or three pages, rarely more) there is one or two describing details too much, and that we never will know how much is autobiographic and how much is fiction.

The authour reluctantly explains his royal blood and confesses that his father's death was a relief, which made the old girlfriends and the psychiatrists get wrinkles on their faces. But with an absent, and when present, abusive, father, he perfectly manages to explain to his readers why. He reflects that his life could have been just as fine without his kids, but then, he corrects himself, it is easy to talk for someone who has than it is for someone who doesn't. Which could be why he decides to be the sperm donor to two lesbian friends, to which his wife doesn't say a no, but nor is it a yes. Here the author also briefly touches upon the gay rights in Australia. Not the least, he is well-informed and takes very feminist stands. When his wife's sister warns him to talk about the pregnancy at an early stage because they could risk a miscarriage and what would the people say then, he answers that miscarriages SHOULD be talked more about. The sister answers it's usually the mother who is in grief and doesn't talk much to anyone. He knew that - it is called a silent grief, as it is not shared. So - still an important thing to talk about. The sister ignores this which underlines that it really, really has to be talked more about.

I laughed out loud probably five times and chuckled or smirked about the same amount. This is a very high mark. However, the humour is dark.

In English, the title could be "Bound by blood". No thriller material, but the somewhat deceiving name could give it more readers, and more readers it should have. Why didn't I hear or read about this contemporary piece anywhere? I predict it to gain popularity over the years and to be read in schools as a standard.

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