A quietly acerbic overview of 20th-century Sweden from the perspective of someone nobody expected to live to see it.

THE ROCK BLASTER

This first novel from the creator of Kurt Wallender (An Event in Autumn, 2014, etc.), originally published in 1973, makes its English-language debut.

A 1911 explosion so nearly kills Oskar Johansson, the youngest member of a team placing and detonating dynamite for construction projects, that the local newspaper reports his death. Against all odds, however, he survives, minus one eye, one hand, several fingers, and half his penis. The frightful accident changes Oskar forever—or does it? Banished from his father’s house a year before the accident because of his interest in socialism, he moved in with like-minded colleague Magnus Nilsson and joined the Social Democratic Party. His visits in the hospital from Elly Lundgren, the young woman with whom he’s been keeping company, taper off and come to an end, and eventually he marries her sister, Elvira, with whom he maintains he’s found perfect harmony. The sexual urges he thought had finished return to him, and he fathers a son and two daughters. Years pass, marked by a highly characteristic parade of public events, private reflections, prose poetry, and prickly asides that will sound familiar to readers of Mankell’s memoir Quicksand (2017). Disenchanted by the failure of socialism to keep its promises to workers, a disillusionment that reflects the author’s own, Oskar leaves the SDP. His son expands his chain of laundries. His wife dies. He moves one last time, watches the summer come and go, shares some of his reminiscences with a faceless narrator but keeps others to himself, and suffers further reversals to his health before he finally dies in 1969, not long after turning 80. Although he’s known throughout his adult life as the man who survived a disfiguring accident, his own attitude is more stoic: “I don’t have much in the way of hands, but I can still pitch in.”

A quietly acerbic overview of 20th-century Sweden from the perspective of someone nobody expected to live to see it.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-56616-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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