Blame Adele Geras because she recommended Shame by Karen Alvtegen so if you feel the need to read it it's all her fault...again.
I'm even more inspired to discover that Karin Alvtegen's great aunt was no less than Astrid Lindgren and so there's a great Pippi Longstocking connection.I loved Pippi she was a bit more of a rebel than Anne Shirley but they seemed to have similarities, not least red plaits.
I have had quite a ridiculous dilemma with writing in translation and my shelves of late. I'm not sure why I felt the urge to separate it all off from the mainstream and give it shelf space of its own but I did and it's done now.
The space left behind has disappeared, too much trouble to re-merge.
Then I thought perhaps I'd like to sub-divide into nationalities.
At this point I could probably have done with a friendly librarian popping round and declaring,
"STOP! What on earth do you think you're doing? May Melvil Dewey turn in his grave, this isn't Daunt's bookshop you know" because do I really have time for this?
No I don't, but too late, once I start book shifting it just goes on and on.
So I have French and German sections, Russian (off on shelves of their own) Italian, Japanese, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Spanish and suddenly and unbeknown to me I have a Nordic section.It does make geographical reading so much simpler, I'm sure all of you know exactly what's on your shelves, but I forget.
So in the Nordic section there's Halldor Laxness, Sigrid Undset and the Kristin Lavransdatter series, Kerstin Ekman and Blackwater.This still unread because every time I start it I think "oh no, wrong moment too scary".
Wilhelm Moberg's Emigrant series, one down three to go, big fat heavy engrossing sagas which also have a right moment for reading.Then recent discovery Tarjei Vesaas.
I should probably add in some Henning Mankell to the sub-section Nordic Crime, with Arnaldur Indridasson, which is where Karin Alvtegen now hovers, it's more psycho-thriller than crime, truth be told, but I haven't got a sub-section for those yet.
It's all got far too complicated.
However Karin Alvtegen surely deserves her place with Shame published by Canongate.
This is page-turning material as the clinically obese Maj-Britt, confined by her size to her apartment for 30 years, and the lithe but equally troubled Dr Monika Lundvall both face their inner demons of shame and guilt.
None of it founded on anything of their own doing but the effects are all cleverly explored.You have to marvel at Maj-Britt's tenacity with her uncontrollable fridge-clearance skills.
Then bring on the fiesty Vanja who has slightly more to feel guilty and shameful about but she's dealing with it.
The ensuing and various mental disintegrations are profound and well delineated by Karin Alvtegen and this is a book that's quite hard to put down.Not so much for the plot as for the fact that I desperately wanted to know how things worked out for all these characters.
Two more in the series, Missing and Betrayal which are now must read soons for me.