Liknelseboken – En kärleksroman / The Parable Book – A Love Story (2013)
He is thinking that the eulogy he had held to his Mother in the Congregation House perhaps should be revised. By the river’s shore a flock of dying friends are standing, they are pleading to him to explain how everything is connected, for instance this matter with Love.
The Boy – not the one who had died, but the one with the same name who had lived and had become the Author. And the woman in the Larsson House; she, who had lain down with him on the knot-free pine floor. Should he write the truth?
And Father’s note book with the ripped-out pages, that had been burnt and was forever gone. And then suddenly is resurfacing after all these years, like a crack in history opening up before him.
Should all this really be told in the eulogy? And be transformed into the love story he never had thought he would be able to write?
Per Olov Enquist’s new novel continues, in some ways, the story in his praised memoir novel Ett annat liv. It is about the Mother and the Father, the Books and whether it is really possible in the end to sum up all that really mattered. From this a love story emerges, which takes its beginning in a meeting between the young 15-year-old and an older woman on a knot-free pine floor in the Larsson House.
“To my surprise, I start bawling like a baby – Liknelseboken is actually so beautiful that it makes you cry.” Sveriges Radios Kulturnytt
“It is simply dazzlingly beautiful. Rarely have his mother’s words, “[P O], it wouldn’t surprise me if you became a prophet some day!” had the same significance as they do here./…/ Liknelseboken is filled with a rare power that makes the old shiny new, the commonplace profound and [P O’s] vivid recollections great literature.” Helsingborgs Dagblad
“And the result is very much a romance novel, full of life even when at its most ascetic. And it also carries a kind of literature’s own truth – an insight via words that is in itself far beyond words. And which, nonetheless, despite the fact that the meaning neither lends itself to being summarized or defined, more and more clearly reverberates through the novel like a wordless insight, an insight beyond all metaphors, which can be exclusively understood as – a feeling. It is very beautiful.” Dagens Nyheter
“A close-to-earth, fairytale-like love /…/ It turns into some of Enquist’s finest work, a letter from a living person to a dead one. It has now arrived.” Svenska Dagbladet
”One of the most entertaining romans à clef I have ever read.” SVT Kulturnyheterna
“Two equally powerful images are facing each other, fighting a quiet battle of a kind across the book’s 250 pages. It is the image of the life-giving and redeeming intercourse there on the floor – slow and extended, dreamlike and erotic and, dare I say, one of the best sex scenes I have read in Swedish literature. /…/ But it is also a novel that not even for a second allows the reader to forget what it is about: the most basic conditions of life. And it is an autobiographical depiction which, in this very time of literary egocentrism manages to rise entirely above the privately narcissistic and become fully universal.” Sydsvenskan
”It is as if Enquist with his squeaky phrasing and agitated graphic methods, carves out a prose which mirrors both “the resurrected childhood” and an aging man’s agonizing speech. A prose where each word echoes in your body. Enquist’s scrutiny opens up for that dizzying feeling that only great literature can give. The joy of language, life’s precipice and the unpredictable roads of love. It is awe inspiring.” Norrköpings Tidningar
“this is yet another marvelously beautiful text by one an author who is without a doubt Sweden’s most well-worth reading. An honor to read.” Östersunds-Posten
“to the Enquist reader this is yet another wonderful piece of the puzzle – maybe even the most important one /…/ To us readers Liknelseboken is very obviously some kind of book of corrections that showcases the role of women, love and sexuality in his life. Now, toward the end, Enquist twists and turns his authorship – ‘the heap o’ books’ – and wonders if he managed his gift well and depicted the meaning and purpose of love the right way. /…/ The heap o’ books is not yet something finished but something that is very much alive. PO Enquist knows this better than most.” Expressen
“But most of all there is melancholy. Over the entire Liknelseboken hovers this exact emotion. Over the passage of time and the body’s deterioration, over the effects of a religiosity that did not boost, did not strengthen, was not characterized by love. And over fear of death. /…/ Liknelseboken is a building project of memories and observations, from a long life. A walk between childhood and now, between people, places and events that made an impression on him. To some extent, a continuation of the autobiography, Ett annat liv, but at the same time something entirely different. /…/ a text entirely carried by its own force, an earnestness and an appeal that is darker and therefore more striking than much of what Enquist has written before.” Göteborgs-Posten
“Enquist is one who writes under the pressure of great existential responsibility. This is the reason for the unique language, the caution with what really has to come out. Then being tepid or approximate doesn’t work./…/ And this is how this novel shapes itself, spinning freely around a vital core, a memory that eliminates all guilt, perhaps an entire authorship if one wants to see it that way. Now I think about what it is with this rather dignified book that creates a distinct sense of humor. And my partial answer is: the italics. Attention is drawn to certain words that way and when they reappear it creates humor. Another partial answer is: the gullible side of the matter. Things might not really add up, but the child still clings to it. Because it’s more fun that way. And the author, the now 77-year-old child, thus allows the unwritten to become a part of what has been described; that which exists among the people on earth.” Aftonbladet
“An enchanting, wonderful novel about love’s utopia.” Die Welt
“The act of seduction on the knotless pine floor is one of the most magnificent and comical in the world literature.” Frankfurter Allgemeine
“Enquist’s novel moves us and touches us in our innermost being.” Deutschland Radio
“Liknelseboken is as entertaining as profound – a great novel that asks the question about the meaning of life.”
“Liknelseboken includes characters and scenes with an unforgettable ”peculiarity”. [...] Never before has Per Olov Enquist proved so brittle and dark, yet so superb and hilarious.” Neue Zürcher Zeitung
”This year’s absolutely best novel so far: a breathtaking tale of Sweden’s greatest living writer about a life, its temptations, its struggles, its both hard-earned and liberating experiences, told with a sometimes disguised humor” Jyllands-Posten
“New, warm, generous, erotic, biblical memories of PO Enquist.” Politiken
“Liknelseboken is a strong and relevant book” Nordjyske Times
”Enquist’s autobiographical novel is a beautiful and imaginative retrospect of a life and an authorship where love triumphs over self-destruction.“ Ekstra Bladet
‘A gripping novel that lifts the religious language of Enquists youth to pure poetry. A magnum opus.’ Trouw (one of the biggest national newspapers in the Netherlands)
‘Intimate and compelling literature, beautiful and breath taking scenes. One of the most magnificent love scenes ever written.’ TPO Magazine
Germany – Hanser 2013
France – Actes Sud 2013
Norway – Gyldendal 2013
Denmark – Rosinante 2013
Netherlands – Ambo Anthos 2013
Italy – Iperborea 2013
The Czech Republic – Host 2013
The Faroe Islands – Sprotin 2013
Rumänien – Casa Cartii 2014
Spain – Planeta 2014
Hungary – Magveto 2015
UK, world English – MacleHose Press June 2016