The Hand That Trembles

Author: 
Kjell Eriksson
Sweden -- December, 1956:  On the sagging, snow-laden roof of a rotting barn, a young boy on the verge of adolescence and his uncle begin to understand a bit about each other.  A Commissioner in Uppsala, Sweden, leaves a meeting- and vanishes.  A fleeting connection in a restaurant in teeming Bangalore, India... and one person flees before a word is said.  In a botanic garden a laborer talks with his friend.  Dramatic death as an elderly man is struck down viciously.   Nothing connects, nothing makes sense.
 
Kjell Eriksson tangles these events in a tale spanning lives and remote locales.  In Sweden, Mr. Eriksson is already a bestselling author; Henning Mankell believes "Kjell Eriksson's novels are among the very best."
 
Now... Mr. Eriksson is Swedish- as was Steig Larsson, the creator of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  But you won't confuse the two.  Steig Larsson conflates volatile personalities in explosive situations: magnesium in a water bath.  Mr. Eriksson weaves together quiet characters (in quiet desperation) and lets them spin quietly into complex alignments.  This story strikes closer to Per Petterson's Norwegian Out Stealing Horses.
 
The New York Times Book Review believes "...Ebba Segerberg's translation of Eriksson's austere prose beautifully captures the spiritual chill of this desolate landscape."

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