Love/war by Ebba Witt-Brattström

Love/War cover

 

Love/war by  Ebba Witt-Brattström

Swedish Fiction

Original title –  Århundradets kärlekskrig

Translator – Kate Lambert

Source – Review copy

I was lucky to get sent the second book from Nordisk books. After Havoc, I wondered what they would choose for the second book. They have chosen a modern novel that has a lot of style about it. It is written by Ebba  Witt-Brattström a well-known figure in Sweden for her feminist setting up one a feminist party in Sweden, which she has since left she is also a professor of Nordic Literature in Helsinki. This is her first book to be translated into English.

He said:

I duppose this morning

wasn’t worse

than usual.

It wn’t get

any better than this.

It’s far more probable

that from now on

goodwil

on either side

will decrease

by a few percentage points

a week.

I don’t know

what could possibly

turn that process

around.

The opening lines of the book show the husband as cold in his way as he accepts the way things are.

We have a novel that is in the form of two voices the two voice indicate just as he and she throughout the book. They are a married couple. what we see here is an unleashing of  two minds that in many ways are the same but due to a lifetime spent together there paths have gone in a classic mid 20th century marriage where the man has been allowed to take the lead and the “classic male role” and what we see is the pent-up anger of  the wife, but also a husband that  has allowed his wife not pursue her dreams and has over time underappreciated her role by calling her a pussy a sub. She has grown afraid of him the love that burnt so bright has turned to pure hate. The final nails in the coffin of a marriage seen in the last conversations they take at each other. Like two expert fencers diving in the point of a blade in the form of words trying to draw blood from one another.

She said

speak for yourself.

Ypur idealisation of

the woman’s feelings for the man

doesn’t seem to apply to the man’s

feeling for the woman.

Love is a story of a couple.

not the conditional submission

of one party

to the needs of the other.

BE WHITE MAN’S SLAVE

You are only enthralled

by the woman’s sacrifice.

you call that love.

My arse

She said:

Now I have dreamt two nights in a row

that I was happy and carried a knife in my hand,

a bloody knife, and my heart was as light as a bird

She puts her anger so well her the way she has felt like his slave during the later part of the marriage now she has seen love turn to hate.

I loved the detached nature of the voices. As the book unwinds we are given breadcrumbs of their lives as we gather what lead them to this position. I was reminded of Beckett in the voices .The way the work is just voices brought to mind the classic piece by him Not I, which was a female voice like this one that is full of bile of a lifetime of being put in her place this is the voice of a woman that has had her dreams spurned. This is the story of a marriage splitting, a battle voiced in words that has the feeling of being very real. the fact the writers own marriage broke up around the time this book came out it. The books original title in Swedish is a nod to another classic Nordic work that of the love of the century by Martha Tikkanen the Finnish writer.where a woman tries to voice her anger towards her alcoholic husband.

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Women in translation

I had initially mention doing a best of 2013 ,but have since decide to bring ten female writers in translation I have enjoyed on the blog .I like many others would love to see a few more female writers translated ,I probably do have a slight bias of reading male writers ,but have in recent times tried to add a few more female writers in translation to my reading .As it international women’s day it seem a great time to share some of my favourite female writers and there books from around the world .I will keep trying to add female writers in translation to the blog .

sidewalksValeria Luiselli is a Mexican writer I have reviewed two of her books on the blog .Sidewalks and Faces in the crowd .Sidewalks is a series of essays mainly about cites and walking .Faces in a crowd set in new york is a novel about a women an old poet and writing a wonderful book .Valeria is my favourite female writer in translation .

stones in a landslideIts hard to believe this was one of the first books from Peirene and it is one I still think of a lot ,stones in a landslide is a story of Conxa her life in the small villages of the pyrenees .

The rest is silenceNow top chile and Carla Guelfenbein one of the rising stars of Latin American fiction .We follow Tommy a young boy ,whose mother has died ,as he uncovers what really happened to her .

revenge by Yoko OgawaNow Yoko Ogawa writes dark short stories I have reviewed two of her books on the blog Revenge and diving pool .I loved revenge its clever series of recurring motifs and other worldliness makes it a stunning collection .

Train-to-Budapest-Maraini-DaciaNow Dacia Maraini is a name that wheneveer the Nobel prize betting appears ranks high ,she is an Italian writer I have only reviewed train to Budapest on the blog .But have three more I need to get to over the next year or so including Silent duchess her best known book .

summer bookNow I was a later comer to Tove Jansson I had read a moomin book as a kid but it wasn’t til I started Blogging I discovered her adult books .She wrote two books summer and winter book about her life on a small island both are gems .

hunger angelNow the German writer  Herta Muller has won the Nobel prize and is another of my favourite female writers ,I have reviewed Nadirs ,the passport  and her most recent book The hunger angel .Her books look over the dark past of communism and her use of language is very unique .

Until-Thy-Wrath-Be-PastAsa Larsson is one of the best Nordic crime writers I have review her book Until thy wrath be past one of the series she has written about Rebecca Martinsson .

trieste dasa drndicDasa Drndic book was shortlist for the IFFP last year it is the story of a women born under the lebensborn programm of Nazi regime ,but also the history of the Italian Jews during the war a list of every Jew from Italy that died is a strong reminder of what happened .

ekaterinfrontcover_50b7770928f02I ve lastly picked Marija Knezevic a Serbian writer for her book Ekaterini follows the history of the Balkans but also what it was to be a women during those times .

So there is ten female writers in translation ,I could added lots more maybe if you could suggest some ? that would be great .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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