Thursday, July 11, 2019

Kajsa Norman's "Sweden's Dark Soul"

Kajsa Norman, a London-based investigative journalist and author, has previously published books on Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. She has also served as a press and information officer for the Swedish Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Mali. Her books include Bridge Over Blood River: The Rise and Fall of the Afrikaners, and A Hero's Curse: The Perpetual Liberation of Venezuela.

Norman applied the “Page 99 Test” to her latest book, Sweden's Dark Soul: The Unravelling of a Utopia, and reported the following:
On page 99 of Sweden’s Dark Soul – The Unraveling of a Utopia, the reader accompanies one of the book’s protagonists, Chang Frick, as he meets his father for the first time since he was a young boy:
Every so often, growing up, Chang catches a glimpse of his father. He sees him drive past, or turn a corner somewhere in the village, but he never stops.

Sometimes Chang bikes past his house. He can describe every white brick of the bottom floor with his eyes closed. The second floor is yellow and made of wood, as though it was added at a later stage. The yard is full of trucks, the odd excavator, and lots of old-school American cars parked on the grass. Most vehicles stay around for a week or two before being sold. By keeping track of the inventory parked outside the house, Chang has a pretty good idea of the state of business.

One day, Chang decides to stop and ring the doorbell. He has been told he is the spitting image of his father, but the man who opens the door is old and white-haired. There is an air of virility and authority about him that Chang did not expect. If Georg is surprised to see him, his face does not betray it. He simply steps aside, allowing Chang in, as though visits from his son are normal and expected.
Chang was born and raised in Sweden, but his dark hair and features, combined with his parents’ inability to adjust to the strict norms that govern life in rural Sweden, make him an outcast. In a country that claims to be open and accepting of all, Chang never feels welcome. Over time, the tendency of Swedes to emphatically maintain a moral position while at the same time actively participate in its violation becomes a thorn in Chang’s side. As an adult, he sets out to expose this hypocrisy. The reader will get to know him intimately as it is he who uncovers the heinous crime that forms the backdrop of the book – the mass sexual assaults of teenage and pre-teenage girls at a music festival in Stockholm. Hundreds of girls are assaulted in a public place, at a tax-financed event, under the supposed supervision of responsible adults, but for some, unspoken reason, there is no action, no justice, no story.
Visit Kajsa Norman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue