The Wandering Pine
Life as a Novel
By Per Olov Enquist
When everything began so well, how could it turn out so badly? A blisteringly frank autobiographical novel by Sweden's great man of letters - for readers of K. O. Knausgaard's My Struggle.
A blisteringly frank autobiographical novel by Sweden's great man of letters - for readers of K. O. Knausgaard's My Struggle.
"Some life. Some novel . . . Wonderful, brave, evocative . . . It is a remarkable story, and Enquist is remarkably frank in narrating every last detail" Herald
When everything began so well, how could it turn out so badly?
What was it about Hjoggböle, a farming village in the northernmost part of Sweden, that created so many idiots - and writers? There was nothing to indicate that P.O. Enquist would be stricken by an addiction to writing. Nothing in his family - honest, hardworking people. Not a trace of poetry. And yet he worked his way, via journalism, novels and plays, to the centre of Swedish politics and cultural life. His books garnered prize after prize. His plays ran for decades and premiered on Broadway.
Why then, living with a new wife in Paris, does he hole up in their palatial Champes-Élysées apartment, talking only to his cat? How is it that he wakes to find himself in an uncoupled carriage on a railway siding in Hamburg, two - or was it three? - days after the first-night party finished? And what is it that drives him to run shoeless through the deep January snow of an Icelandic plain, leaving the lights of the drying out clinic far behind?
Narrating in the third person, as if he were merely a character in the eventful, perplexing and ultimately triumphantly redemptive drama of his own life, P.O. Enquist is as elliptical as Karl Ove Knausgaard is exhaustive. Clear-eyed, rueful, written with elegance and humour, this is the singular story of a remarkable man.
Per Olov Enquist was born in 1934 in a small village in Norrland, the northern part of Sweden. He is one of Sweden's leading contemporary writers, both as a novelist and a playwright. He has twice won the August Prize for fiction, the most prestigious Swedish literary prize, and was awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Visit of the Royal Physician.
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- Publication date:
08 Dec 2016
- Page count:
Some life. Some novel . . . Wonderful, brave, evocative . . . It is a remarkable story, and Enquist is remarkably frank in narrating every last detail — Russell Leadbetter, Herald
The Wandering Pine, rather like Arthur Miller's Timebends, is a fascinating portrait of intellectual life during the twentieth century — Kate Webb, Times Literary Supplement
Fascinating . . . Works best when it feels most like a novel - most obviously in its oblique beginning and end — James Kidd, Independent
A riveting objective autobiography — Peggy Woodford, Church Times
'A deeply impressive book' Expressen. — Expressen
'One of the contemporary novel's greatest human investigators' Paul Binding, Independent. — Independent