Synopses & Reviews
...or perhaps author Nikanor Teratologen is the devil himself, sending the English-speaking world a Scandinavian squib to remind readers that such reassuring figures as vampires and serial killers are no more frightening than pixies or unicorns in light of the depravity contained in one quiet suburb. Reading like a deranged hybrid of Deliverance, Naked Lunch, and Tuesdays with Morrie, and rivaling The 120 Days of Sodom in its challenge to our assumptions as to what is acceptable (or not) in literature, Assisted Living presents us with a series of queasy anecdotes concerning an eleven-year-old boy and his grandfather, a monster for whom murder, violence, incest, drunkenness, and philosophy all pass as equally valid ways to spend one's time. Whether it's a study in excess, a parody of provincial proto-fascism, a clear-eyed look at evil, or simply a prodigious literary dare, Assisted Living is unlikely to leave you indifferent.
"Teratologen's first book to be translated into English situates itself in an insidious series of frames in the fantastic tradition pioneered by such gothic novelists as Mary Shelley, opening with a translator's note, a preface by the author wherein he claims the text that follows was found and entrusted to him by 'a dear friend with exquisitely cruel tastes' , and a foreword by that same friend who promptly proclaims, 'Last summer I murdered an eleven-year-old boy' by the name of Helge. The bulk of the book is supposedly the murdered boy's manuscripts, titled Assisted Living, wherein he writes of his late pederast grandpa, Holger Holmlund, the outcast devil of the Swedish town of SkellefteÃ¥. The book proceeds in an episodic fashion chronicling Helge and Holger's evil exploits. Teratologen's prose is hyperbolic, hysterical, and horrifying, peppered throughout with highbrow literary allusions and American and Swedish pop culture references alike. Already an infamous bestseller in Sweden, the book seems calculated to offend just about everyone. A studier of monsters Ã la Henry Miller, Teratologen makes one believe in the possibility of literature to still deliver an electric shock, but in this case readers will likely be left feeling nauseous. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Marquis de Sade is alive and well and living in Sweden...
About the Author
Kerri A. Pierce is a translator focusing on German, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, and Swedish. She is the translator of Lars Svendsen’s A Philosophy of Evil, Mela Hartwig’s Am I a Redundant Human Being?, Kjersti A. Skomsvold's The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am, and other novels.Stig Sæterbakken (1966–2012) was one of Norway’s most acclaimed contemporary writers. His novels include Through the Night and Siamese (also published by Dalkey Archive).