Torbjörn Flygt: TOP TEN BOOKS

Torbjörn Flygt

One of Sweden’s most popular authors with nine books to his name, Torbjörn Flygt is best known for his 2001 novel “Underdog,” which won the country’s prestigious August Prize, and has since been translated into multiple languages (if not yet in English). Set in the southern city Malmö in the 1970s, its protagonist, Johan Kraft, serves as a mechanism for Flygt to examine Sweden’s changing social society with clear-eyed compassion. Kraft returned in Flygt’s 2011 novel, “Outsider,” this time set in the 1980s in the aftermath of the murder of the country’s prime minister, Olaf Palme, just as the country’s lauded welfare state begin to buckle. On Tuesday 13 June, Flygt will read at a special One Grand Books salon at Alma in Stockholm.

Below are Torbjörn Flygt’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.


Wittgenstein’s Nephew

Thomas Bernhard
A post-war masterpiece of European fiction—full of raw energy, rage, humor, and masterful prose. Bernhard is my favorite writer, and this is spectacular.
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Mary Beard
Professor Beard is a Suetonius for our time. But instead of writing about emperors for university graduates, she brings ordinary roman people to life, for us—ordinary readers.
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The Stranger

Albert Camus
A novel I return to every second year, at least—for the elegant prose, and for the mystery: What’s eating Meursault?
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The End of Days

Jenny Erpenbeck
I’m not that keen on contrafactual books. Erpenbeck’s novel is something different, though. By letting people die and then come to life again in the next chapter, she tells an epic family story covering an essential part of Europe’s 20th century.
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Two Plays: And Give us the Shadows, Autumn and Winter

Lars Norén
I love reading plays. It gives you the essence of a story, the skeleton on which you create your own images and characters. Norén is Sweden’s most internationally acclaimed playwright since Strindberg. He had his breakthrough with two Eugene O’Neill inspired plays.
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Soda Pop

Barbro Lindgren
“What, is he crazy? Should I get a job and destroy the best years of my life?” A boy, a father, a grandfather live in an old house in the woods, spending their days with feeding the tigers they keep in the barn with hot dogs, swimming in the garage they turned into a pool, riding a giraffe. A children’s book far more anarchic than “Pippi Longstocking” —and more fun, too. Also for grown-ups.
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Child Wonder

Roy Jacobsen
If you ask me, Jacobsen is Scandinavia’s best now living novelist. “Child Wonder” is a gripping tale about a boy’s upbringing in Oslo with his single mother. If you read any one of Jacobsen’s novels you’ll become a member of his fan club.
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The Unit

Ninni Holmqvist
A dystopian novel about women too old to become pregnant, only valuable for a Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. Scary and thoughtful, of course, and beautifully written by an enviably talented writer.
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The Road

Cormac McCarthy
Normally, I want to re-read a good book immediately. But I will never return to “The Road.” It made me physically ill to read it, and it has haunted me since. It should do for McCarthy what “The Old Man and the Sea” did for Hemingway: Reward him with the Nobel prize.
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The Wall

Marlen Haushofer
A woman wakes up in a lodge in the Alps. Her friends are gone. A glass wall separates her from the outside world. What has happened? Haushofer doesn’t give any answers. Written during the cold war and under the shadow of the threat of a nuclear war, “The Wall” is no less worth reading today.
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