Kapten Nemos bibliotek / Captain Nemo’s Library (1991)

O_Kapten Nemo_SETwo women give birth, each to a son, but six years later it is found out that the children were mixed up at the maternity ward. This leads to their being swapped to return to their rightful families. One boy is called Johannes. The other is the narrator. Johanna – Johannes’ new mother – decides that Johannes must have a sister, and that is how Eeva – Liisa comes into the lives of the boys and whose tragic life becomes the hub around which the novel moves. A melancholy and poignant and also paradoxically relieving story with keen and, at the same time enigmatic images. An attempt, like with Proust to recapture the past.

”There are only three sorts of people: executioners, victims and traitors” writes Johannes in his notes, retold by the narrator. Around these characters, placed in a little country community in the years around the Second World War, Enquist weaves an authentic family drama about the good and the evil, a synthesis of naturalism and myth, a drama of great beauty and pain.

Press Voices:

”The novel is constructed with elegance and sublety and Enquist has in a quite remarkable way managed to build in a multitude of dimensions in this powerful story. /…/ Kapten Nemos bibliotek is indeed a very weighty reminder of what an important author Per Olov Enquist really is.” Arbetet

”It is by no means easy to summarize a novel of this sort – with its great breadth, with its many harrowing scenes and its mass of signs and thoughts. Perhaps it is ultimately about the absence of love and of the longing for love. /…/ Without doubt, Per Olov Enquist has, with his novel of enigmatic beauty, created his foremost literary novel so far.”  Svenska Dagbladet

”… a reading adventure … which is unequalled on the contemporary literary scene.”  Die Zeit

Kapten Nemos bibliotek is a poetically enigmatic story from the borderland of love, an examination of the essence of love in relation to those who are at the bottom …” Östgöta Correspondenten 

”In this autumn’s Swedish literary geography, Kapten Nemos bibliotek stands out like an oak on a plain.”  Norrköpings Tidningar

International Editions:

Denmark – Samleren 1990, 1993

Norway – Gyldendal 1990

Finland – Gummerus 1991

France – Actes Sud 1990

Germany – Hanser 1990

Great Britain – Quartet 1991

Russia – Raduga 1992

Lithuania – Alma Littera 1992

Iceland – Forlagid 1992

Poland – Swiat Literacki 1996

The Netherlands – Ambo/Anthos 2001

Latvia – Atena 2003

Italy – Giano Editore 2003

Serbia – Alfa Narodna Knijga 2004

Spain – Nórdica Libros 2006

Slovenia – Studentska zalozba Academic press 2006


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