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Man ska vara tyst när man önskar
(Make a Silent Wish)
Natur och Kultur, 2002. ISBN: 9127086615
Reviewed by Sarah Death in SBR 2003:1
In this squirmingly accurate picture of the cattiness, raging hormones, self-obsession and utter insecurity of teenage girls, a class of Swedish Year Nines brimming with bravado go by coach for a week to Zell am See to mark the end of their time at lower secondary school. In the claustrophobic atmosphere of a hotel in bad weather, tensions and rivalries surface and allegiances change in unexpected ways. Discipline from staff seems ineffectual, rowdy behaviour spreads and nightclub visits, drunkenness and hangovers become the norm. One girl even disappears for over 24 hours, causing the outing to Salzburg, the planned highlight of the trip, to be cancelled. But most of the class realize they have gone too far, and it is a straggling band of chastened individuals that finally returns home. They come together again on the last day of term before everyone goes their separate ways in life. It seems to have been as much a rite of passage as a school trip.
Anna Ehn’s last novel, Vårfrost (Spring Frost, Norstedts, 1995) was a powerful account of 12-year-old Klara’s descent into the hell of anorexia nervosa. It was told from the girl’s point of view, but not targeted at any specific group of readers, and was undoubtedly a moving read for adults and young people alike. The teenagers in this new book are a little older, their interaction and jargon to the fore while the grown-up characters are kept more to the margins. The fact that the publisher is marketing it as a novel for young people means it is more likely to be read mainly by that age group.
As in Spring Frost, the third-person narrative perspective is that of someone with a different agenda from the main crowd. Most of her classmates think Karin is a swot and a freak. She is a conscientious pupil, top of the class, and also very successful in her chosen sport of orienteering. She is due to compete in the Swedish junior championships a few days after her return from Austria, and is anxious that she won’t be able to train to her usual high standards. In one way she is more vulnerable than Klara in Spring Frost, because she has no proper friends. Karin views the antics of the others on the trip with a mixture of distaste and fascination, and in the end cannot avoid becoming embroiled in their petty feuds and betrayals. To her own surprise, she develops a sense of fellow feeling with one of the most rebellious girls. But all the time, the Achilles’ tendon which was aching on her last orienteering run is growing more and more inflamed, so at length she has to tell a teacher and be taken for emergency treatment. She returns home on crutches and has to give up all hope of competing, Thus even an orderly life like Karin’s is turned upside down by the fateful trip. Anna Ehn succeeds in getting under Karin’s skin with great psychological sensitivity.
Finding it hard myself to escape the perspective of uneasy parent, I mused that the account of this fictional journey throws up some interesting differences between Swedish “class trips” and their British school counterparts. Of course, it’s never a good idea to rely on two staff who are romantically involved, but even so, the naively trusting approach of these teachers, and the lack of structured activities to fill the pupils’ hours and tire them out, would be seen in Britain as inviting disaster!
Also by Anna Ehn
- Vårfrost (Spring Frost). Reviewed by Marie Allen in SBR 1996:1.
Other reviews by Sarah Death
- Therese Bohman, Aftonland (Eventide). Reviewed in SBR 2017:1.
- Ellen Mattson, Sommarleken (The Summer Game). Reviewed in SBR 2016:2.
- Jerker Virdborg, Skyddsrummet Luxgatan (The Lux Street Bunker). Reviewed in SBR 2016:1.
- Agneta Pleijel, Spådomen: en flickas memoarer (The Prophecy: Memoirs of a Girl). Reviewed in SBR 2015:2.
- Aino Trosell, Min grav är din. Krimineller II (My Grave is Yours. Criminelles II). Reviewed in SBR 2015:1.
- Mats Kempe, Det jag redan minns. En roman i 16 noveller (What I Already Remember. A Novel in 16 Short Stories). Reviewed in SBR 2014:2.
- Bodil Malmsten, Och ett skepp med sju segel och femti kanoner ska försvinna med mig (And a Ship with Seven Sails and Fifty Cannons Will Disappear with Me). Reviewed in SBR 2014:1.
- Ulla-Lena Lundberg, Is (Ice). Reviewed in SBR 2013:S.
- Karin Alvtegen, Fjärilseffekten (The Butterfly Effect). Reviewed in SBR 2013:2.
- Marie Norin, vit vit (white white). Reviewed in SBR 2013:1.
- Peter Handberg, Skuggor (Shadows). Reviewed in SBR 2012:2.
- Håkan Nesser, Himmel över London (Skies over London). Reviewed in SBR 2012:1.
- Liselott Willén, Ingenstans under himlen (No Other Name Under Heaven). Reviewed in SBR 2011:2.
- Harriet Löwenhjelm, Samlade dikter. Med forörd och kommentarer av Boel Hackman (Collected Poems. With Foreword and Commentaries by Boel Hackman). Reviewed in SBR 2011:2.
- Therese Bohman, Den drunknade (Drowned). Reviewed in SBR 2011:1.
- Carola Sandbacka, Under kriget (During the War). Reviewed in SBR 2011:1.
- Susanne Ringell, Vattnen (The Waters). Reviewed in SBR 2011:1.
- Anne Swärd, Till sista andetaget (Breathless). Reviewed in SBR 2010:2.
- Käbi Laretei, Vart tog all denna kärlek vägen? (Where Did All That Love Go?). Reviewed in SBR 2010:2.
- Aris Fioretos, Den siste greken (The Last Greek). Reviewed in SBR 2010:1.
- Jerker Virdborg, Kall feber (Cold Fever). Reviewed in SBR 2010:1.
- Henrik Nilsson, Den falske vännen (The False Friend). Reviewed in SBR 2009:2.
- Majgull Axelsson, Is och vatten, vatten och is (Ice and Water, Water and Ice). Reviewed in SBR 2009:2.
- Katarina Mazetti, Mitt liv som pingvin (My Life as a Penguin). Reviewed in SBR 2009:2.
- Ellen Mattson, Glädjestranden (The Joyous Shore). Reviewed in SBR 2009:1.
- Carina Burman, Hästen från porten: ett österländskt ävertyr (The Ottoman Horse: An Eastern Adventure). Reviewed in SBR 2009:1.
- Peter Kihlgård, Kicki & Lasse. Reviewed in SBR 2008:2.
- Göran Sahlberg, När tiden tog slut (When Time Was No More). Reviewed in SBR 2008:2.
- Inger Edelfeldt, Hemligt ansikte (Secret Face). Reviewed in SBR 2008:1.
- Åsa Linderborg, Mig äger ingen (Nobody Owns Me). Reviewed in SBR 2008:1.
- Jessica Kolterjahn, Ut ur skuggan (Out of the Shadow). Reviewed in SBR 2008:1.
- Niklas Rådström, Gästen (The Guest). Reviewed in SBR 2007:2.
- Anne Swärd, Kvicksand (Quicksand). Reviewed in SBR 2007:2.
- Susanna Alakoski, Svinalängorna (The Pigsties). Reviewed in SBR 2007:2.
- Ann Granhammer, Den indianska krassens blickande (The Look of the Nasturtium). Reviewed in SBR 2007:1.
- Liza Marklund, Nobels testamente (Nobel's Last Will and Testament). Reviewed in SBR 2007:1.
- Alexander Ahndoril, Regissören (The Director). Reviewed in SBR 2007:1.
- Lotta Lundberg, Skynda, kom och se (Roll up, Roll up). Reviewed in SBR 2006:2.
- Inger Edelfeldt, Finns det liv på Mars? (Is There Life on Mars?). Reviewed in SBR 2006:1.
- Solja Krapu, Mogen för skrubben (Ready for the Cupboard). Reviewed in SBR 2006:1.
- Jerker Virdborg, Försvinnarna: en efterforskning (The Disappearers: An Investigation). Reviewed in SBR 2005:2.
- Anna-Karin Palm, Herrgården (The Manor House). Reviewed in SBR 2005:2.
- Sven Lindqvist, Terra Nullius: En resa genom ingens land (Terra Nullius: A Journey through No-One's Land). Reviewed in SBR 2005:2.
- Carina Burman, Babylons gatar: Ett Londonmysterium (The Streets of Babylon: A London Mystery). Reviewed in SBR 2005:1.
- Ellen Mattson, Splendorville. Reviewed in SBR 2005:1.
- Jacqueline Karp, Sudden Maraschinos. Reviewed in SBR 2005:1.
- Inger Edelfeldt, Svarta lådan (Black Box). Reviewed in SBR 2005:1.
- Marie Peterson, Du tror du vet allting (You Think You Know It All). Reviewed in SBR 2004:2.
- Inger Edelfeldt, Efter angelus (After Angelus). Reviewed in SBR 2004:2.
- Katarina Mazetti, Tarzans tårar (Tarzan's Tears). Reviewed in SBR 2004:2.
- Fredrika Runeberg, Receptbok (Recipe Book). Reviewed in SBR 2004:1.
- Kerstin Ekman, Skraplotter (Scratchcards). Reviewed in SBR 2004:1.
- Various Authors, .DOC (.DOC). Reviewed in SBR 2003:2.
- Sven Olov Karlsson, Italienaren (The Italian). Reviewed in SBR 2003:2.
- Johanna Nilsson, Konsten att vara Ela (The Art of Being Ela). Reviewed in SBR 2003:2.
- Unni Drougge, Lutherska badet (The Lutheran Baths). Reviewed in SBR 2003:2.
- Gerda Antti, Livet skriver kapitel (Life Writes its Chapters). Reviewed in SBR 2003:1.
- Johanna Nilsson, Rebell med frusna fötter (Rebel With Frozen Feet). Reviewed in SBR 2003:1.
- Jerker Virdborg, Landhöjning två centimeter per natt (Land levels rising, two centimetres a night). Reviewed in SBR 2002:2.
- Inger Edelfeldt, Riktig kärlek (Real Love). Reviewed in SBR 2002:2.
- Kerstin Ekman, Sista rompan (The Last String). Reviewed in SBR 2002:2.
- Åke Edwardson, Himlen är en plats på jorden (Heaven is a Place on Earth). Reviewed in SBR 2002:1.
- Torbjörn Flygt, Underdog. Reviewed in SBR 2002:1.
- Thomas Kanger, Första stenen (The First Stone). Reviewed in SBR 2001:2.
- Carina Burman, Islandet (The Ice Land). Reviewed in SBR 2001:2.
- Barbara Voors, Sömnlös (Sleepless). Reviewed in SBR 2001:2.
- Elsie Johansson, Nancy (Nancy). Reviewed in SBR 2001:1.
- Eva Claeson (ed), Metamorphoses, Journal of the Five Colleges for Literary Translation: Special Issue on Swedish Literature, Spring 2000, vol. 8 no. 1. Reviewed in SBR 2000:2.
- Anna Lindegren, Orola. Reviewed in SBR 2000:2.
- Kerstin Ekman, Urminnes tecken (Signs of Time Immemorial). Reviewed in SBR 2000:2.
- Inger Edelfeldt, Det hemliga namnet (The Secret Name). Reviewed in SBR 2000:1.
- Kerstin Ekman, Guds barmhärtighet (God's Mercy). Reviewed in SBR 2000:1.
- Anna-Karin Palm, Lekplats (Playground). Reviewed in SBR 2000:1.
- Oline Stig, Ryggen fri (Open Line of Retreat). Reviewed in SBR 2000:1.
- Carina Burman, Cromwells huvud: antropologisk komedi (Cromwell's Head: an Anthropological Comedy). Reviewed in SBR 1999:1.
- Inger Edelfeldt, Salt (Salt). Reviewed in SBR 1999:1.
- Agneta Pleijel, En vinter i Stockholm (One Winter in Stockholm). Reviewed in SBR 1997:2.
- Christina Doctare, När man väntar sig en man: Ansikte mot ansikte med kriget (When You Were Expecting a Man). Reviewed in SBR 1997:2.
- Kerstin Ekman, Gör mig levande igen (Make Me Live Again). Reviewed in SBR 1996:2.
- Heidi van Born, En sida av himlen (One Side of Heaven). Reviewed in SBR 1996:1.
Other reviews in SBR 2003:1
- Gerda Antti, Livet skriver kapitel (Life Writes its Chapters). Reviewed by Sarah Death.
- Majgull Axelsson, En stad av slott (A City of Castles). Reviewed by Linda Schenck.
- Ernst Brunner, Fukta din aska. C M Bellmans liv från början till slut (Moisten Your Mortal Ashes. C M Bellman's Life from Beginning to End). Reviewed by Birgitta Thompson.
- Stewe Claeson, Rönndruvan glöder (The Rowan's Cluster Glows). Reviewed by Charles Harrison-Wallace.
- Stig Claesson, Efter oss syndafloden (Après nous le déluge). Reviewed by Henning Koch.
- Åke Edwardson, Segel av sten (Sails of Stone). Reviewed by Irene Scobbie.
- Per Gunnar Evander, Plötsligt medan dimman lättar (Suddenly While the Mist is Lifting). Reviewed by Rick McGregor.
- Theodor Kallifatides, Den sjätte pasageraren (The Sixth Passenger). Reviewed by Peter Linton.
- Maaret Koskinen, I begynnelsen var ordet: Ingmar Bergman och hans tidiga författarskap (In the Beginning Was the Word: Ingmar Bergman and his early writings). Reviewed by Annika Lindskog.
- Björn Larsson, Den sanna berättelsen om Inga Andersson (The True Story of Inga Andersson). Reviewed by Tom Geddes.
- Ulla-Lena Lundberg, Marsipansoldaten (The Marzipan Soldier). Reviewed by Silvester Mazzarella.
- Henning Mankell, Innan frosten (Before the Frost). Reviewed by Laurie Thompson.
- Jan Myrdal, Gubbsjuka. Reviewed by Eivor Martinus.
- Cilla Neumann, Dem oss skyldiga äro (Those Who Trespass Against Us). Reviewed by Linda Schenck.
- Håkan Nesser, Kära Agnes! (Dear Agnes!). Reviewed by Stig Olsson.
- Johanna Nilsson, Rebell med frusna fötter (Rebel With Frozen Feet). Reviewed by Sarah Death.
- Elisabeth Rynell, Till Mervas (To Mervas). Reviewed by Irene Scobbie.
- Niklas Rådström, Kvartett (Quartet). Reviewed by Anne Born.
- Friedrich Strindberg, Under jorden i Berlin (Underground in Berlin). Reviewed by Eivor Martinus.
- Jerker Virdborg, Svart krabba (Black Crab). Reviewed by Stig Olsson.
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