Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Gå Inte Ensam Ut I Natten - Kjell Westö

As a native speaker of Swedish, I always find the Finnish version of our common language rather charming. Differing only slightly from the way Swedes speak, it does nevertheless have its little peculiarities, not the least of which is their pronunciation, which makes them all sound sweeter than the Moomin.

The style, therefore, of Finnish Westö's novels, is blissful for two reasons : The Finnish idiosyncracies and Westö's elegant prose. I have previously read and appreciated his 2013 novel 'Hägring 38'. As compared to that, this decade-old book felt less mature, less restrained, as evidenced for instance by its length. Over 500 pages means the author has found it tough to kill his darlings.

Storywise, Westö ambitiously takes on the lives of a series of people, linked over a period of time; friends, lovers, musicians and family. 
Their heavy drinking feels distinctly typical of the country, though I realize I have now mentioned Finland regarding pretty much every aspect of this novel... It IS closely linked to the Helsinki setting, and its depiction of Finland from the 1960s onwards was also, to me, its top feature.




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