Jessica Schiefauers youth novel “When the dogs will” revolve around a nazianstruket hate crimes, but still manages to portray the characters and their actions nuanced and retaining complexity. On Monday, the book can give their writers her second the August.
Four years ago was awarded to Jessica Schiefauer August Prize for his previous book “The Boys”, a youth novel about three teenage girls discover a flower whose nectar can make them boys at night. On Monday August Gala can Jessica Schiefauer return be rewarded for “Best Swedish children’s and young adult book”, this time for the book “When the dogs are coming.”
“When the dogs will” set in a town somewhere in Sweden , a city that we do not know the name of – maybe there is not even. But at the same time, it is in the highest degree. As Schiefauer writes in the following words: “There is not a true story. But it is not improbable “. It is a town like many others. Here, at a party at the lake, meet Ester and Isaac. At the lake begins what will make their lives to stay up during a time when they were drawn into the love and each other. But the lake is done soon also something that gets the whole community to stop: the killing of a 15-year-old boy.
Nazism is like a dark shadow throughout the book. It appears now and then in their most emblematic shape: a ss-flash tattooed on someone’s back of the hand, a swastika carved in a textbook, nationalistic songs echoing across the water, shaved scalps and stålhättor. For some, it does not appear to have any deeper meaning but is more an expression of ignorance and pure idiocy. But it also lurks behind all the things that a lost man needs: behind someone who sees you, behind something resembling love, and then it does not matter that the bottoms of just idiocy.
The background to Isaac Esters and Love Isaac’s brother Anton. He fits his neighbor tired golden retriever when he was not prowling around the streets alone, he lends money to Isaac promise to borrow the motorcycle. Anton revolve around a sense of reluctance and discomfort, a pain that sometimes you can discern the face of a teenager marked by a search. One day he meets a pair of eyes with black shards of, a look that shines strange, that he is both attracted to and which he can not bear. This person may never be a name, but called only “he”. Stylistically, it is a stroke of genius: he is reduced to an abstract figure, a function in the novel – it is through him that Anton will be someone he was not from the beginning. Anton gets namely anything of him, confirmation and context, and gradually blurred the boundaries out what Anton would not. Gradually erased whatever limits called out.
Schiefauer says the following words about how a young man was beaten to death in the town where she lived when she was 17 years and that there is a story that repeats itself.
In an article in the journal The Lion and the Unicorn (3/2014) discusses literary scholar Fiona McCulloch patriotism and violence in young people’s literature on the basis of Theresa Breslin’s “Remembrance” (2002), a juvenile novel set during the First World War. It also links to the Holocaust during World War II and encourages reflection on history’s cruelty and imprint in current events. McCulloch points out how the novel can remind that war is not primarily have to do with the march of older veterans, but “wearing youth face”.
Fiona McCulloch discuss how the ghosts of the past also belongs to the future, how they will return time at once. In the same way reminiscent Schiefauers novel on the one hand about the Nazi murder of John Hron in Kungälv in 1995, but also about recent events, and even after the book’s publication, that the school attack in Trollhättan in October.
The hatred and violence repeats itself but Schiefauers novel portrays a nuanced picture of the offender. It is not difficult to understand how Anton approaching the limit. How the need of belonging comes before what the group actually represents, the acknowledgment is so intoxicating that nothing else matters. When Isaac discovers that Anton has a CD adorned with an SS-badge says he just deprecating: “It is not me who put it there.” His own will is not important, it is however “his” will, his eyes, he loves to hate.
When a late summer evening at the lake and Anton sees someone on the other side of the water – Simon , “an idiot from school” – it’s so easy to play comrade in the hands. “Looks like a gay,” says “he”. “Teach him to be,” replied Anton. When “he” puts his hand on Anton’s neck portrayed a completely contradictory situation, a gesture of love rooted in hatred which ought to rip anybody apart, which makes one think that I never would. But Anton is human and humans sometimes do inhuman things.
“The hand grip becomes firmer, pulling Anton himself. His head comes closer, he leans his forehead against Anton’s forehead, and now his eyes troubled, sorrowful, almost loving.
– Knee on knee, Anton. Kneeling on his knees. When the war comes. “
Theresa Breslin’s novel depicts a summer that changed everything, a summer of contrasts. Also here are the protagonists teenagers whose life going on as usual, until suddenly that nothing is as common anymore, and the carefree existence disappears. McCulloch cites the American historian Paul Fussell: “In a modern mind-set is ‘the last summer’ gained a position as a symbol of all innocent as irretrievably lost.”
In a similar way, Ester and Isaac’s relationship foiled during the summer, when the murder of a young man committed, and get a whole community to stop. Their love, which begins as an intense love but Isaac is about to burn out just when the unthinkable happens, going on in parallel and receive unexpected consequences. Isaac needs tests in a manner that is heartbreaking paradox: he is no longer in love with her but he must as far away from the gruesome as possible. Ester their part, are still in love and want to feel needed. “May I come to you? I can not sleep, “said Isaksson to Esther:
” The feelings in the chest when he says it, the forbidden, ugly happiness in the midst of all that she ought to think is horrible. He needs her now, she’ll have him, hold him – it shines so brightly that nothing else really going through. “
McCulloch notes that Breslin’s novels are in the borderland between childhood and adulthood: “They have been thrown into the global conflicts of uncertainty, which upset the natural order.” Also, Ester and Isaac falls into a rabbit hole when the world rages: everything is upside-down and soon they remember how it was before.
“When the dogs will” put the consequences of a hate crime in focus, and it is clear that Schiefauers approach is not black and white. The documents and the people can not be easily placed into the compartment marked “good” and “evil”. In a world where prejudice and extremism occurs both to the right and left feels nuance particularly important.
The grief is important, grief over what went wrong, having lost her child – regardless of whether the child is alive or not. The grief of Isaac, and the mother is not unlike the grief of Simon’s mother. Isaac’s mother goes around the house as if it were a maze, she is looking for the son she brought up, time seems to have gone out of joint. And Esther sees Simon’s mother on television and recognize the wandering gaze:
“It is the memory of his son who pulls through her head. A wave that repeatedly hitting her, a cry that echoes throughout the body:
He is not here! He is not here! He is not here! “
McCulloch reflects on Breslin’s fictional character Charlotte coming to the conclusion that in wartime no distinction between class, religion or ethnicity, “the people cried, and cried, and broke down with grief – in the UK, Belgium and Russia, and so even in Germany. “consequences of the war is human suffering, regardless of affiliation. McCulloch referring to the French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s thought that death is a part of life, that the ghost of our cultural past repeatedly haunts our collective consciousness. A memento mori that transcend national borders.
Similarly, there is an overrun of the picture of good and evil in “When the dogs are coming.” The terms relaxed, changing bodies and spaces. This is reflected among other things in the lake, a place where light and darkness meet. A place where both love and hatred accommodated, where they are frightening close together. In one scene, night bathing Ester and Isaac. They marvel at how the warm water seals around them like a cocoon and Ester pasting themselves against Isaac, and kisses along his body, and further down – until her feet meet a limit and the icy depths feels like a grip on the ankles.
The murder of Simon leads to a kind of war: There arises a threat even against Anton’s family. Isaac’s father gets panes smashed on his car and Isaac listen with a beating heart to the feet of the asphalt in the street. There must be an incomprehensible misunderstanding, thinking his father while he was staring at the headlines painting out his son as a monster. He must have been confused with someone else. “He has seen Anton grow up, he knows his heart.” But in reality he knows: Anton has abused a contemporary boy to death. You can not get away from. They are forced to acquire guard dogs, always ready to attack to protect the family. When Esther – heartbroken – banging on the windows of the house of Isaac, they perceive that the house is threatened. A dog sees only black and white.
Jessica Schiefauer has written a book that brings to mind the nuances of what at first glance none had.
Emma Holm has a BA in Literature and freelance writer.
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