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Issue number: 2018:2


Fiction by Johanna Nilsson and Jenny Jägerfeld.
Biography of Ingmar Bergman.

Editor: Deborah Bragan-Turner

(Image: Ingmar Bergman. © Bengt Wanselius)

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It has been hard to avoid Ingmar Bergman in 2018, the centenary of his birth. The ‘legend’, the ‘icon’, the man who has his own Google doodle has been celebrated in a range of retrospectives, books, theatre productions and – yes – films, all testifying to the richness of his work. Much of Bergman’s output is regarded as literature in its own right, and it is on the literary aspect of his words that we focus in this issue, with an illuminating article on his unrealised screenplays and in translated extracts from Jan Holmberg’s The Author Ingmar Bergman and Bergman’s Work Diaries.

The Greener Abyss by Johanna Nilsson is a literary fantasy inspired by, and intended as a sequel to, Karin Boye’s classic dystopian novel Kallocain, the novel for which Boye is probably best known. Read on for a translated extract from Nilsson’s novel, published in 2015, and one from another of Boye’s works, Astarte, published in 1931. Every so often a book written for younger readers comes along and captures the imagination and hearts of adults. Jenny Jägerfeld’s new novel Comedy Queen, a moving story about a child coping with tragedy, is likely to touch all who read it. Östen Sjöstrand was a Swedish poet and translator who is remembered here in a poem by his own translator, Scottish-born poet Robin Fulton Macpherson.

There is one other significant anniversary to observe this year: it is thirty-five years since Swedish Book Review began under the editorship of Laurie Thompson in Aberystwyth. Thanks to the continued financial support and encouragement of the Swedish Arts Council and the indefatigable energy and goodwill of all our contributors and reviewers, SBR is read and enjoyed worldwide, promoting Swedish literature and Swedish writers through the medium of English into many other language areas.

Whilst the magazine evolves in step with the ever-changing world of books, we pause for just a moment to look back at the careers of two of our early contributors, translators Joan Tate and Patricia Crampton.


Jenny Jägerfeld

Translated Extract

from Comedy Queen by Jenny Jägerfeld

Comedy Queen tackles a dramatic and painful situation with the bold energy and humour for which Jägerfeld has become renowned. It deals with one of the most devastating events to affect a child – a mother’s suicide – and is the story of twelve-year-old Sasha’s survival technique.
Translated by Susan Beard


compiled and edited by Fiona Graham


Hon, han och hjärnan

Markus Heilig, a psychiatrist turned neuroscientist, has set himself an ambitious project: to explain sex differences in brain structure and function and to show what happens in brains – not just the human one – at different stages of development.



With her feminist dystopia, Karam joins acclaimed authors such as Johannes Anyuru and Jonas Hassen Khemiri in carving out space for a new speculative fiction emanating from Sweden – one that renews the genre by foregrounding questions of diversity and race in a place so often idealised as a social utopia. ​



It rings true on so many levels, and women especially will relate very personally to this intimate story of the painful transition from girlhood to womanhood. ​

Book cover



In Hemmet, a horror novel set in a care home, Mats Strandberg sidesteps clichés to produce a haunting tale of dementia and the greatest fear of all; losing control of ourselves.