Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Anyone for Swedish murder and fin-de-siècle gloom?

Hjalmar Söderberg (source: Wikipedia)
If you are looking for some good old fin-de-siècle gloom and you happen to be in the vicinity of London, England, you really should take the opportunity to see Dr Glas, starring Swedish actor Krister Henriksson (of Wallander-renown).

Dr Glas is based on a novel, first published in 1905, by Swedish writer Hjalmar Söderberg,  considered to be one of the finest novelists this nation ever produced. It is, admittedly, not a cheerful story. On the other hand, it has murder, adultery, depression and lots and lots of good old misery. Nobody get a HEA, because that was not what Söderberg was about. He was, after all, the man who wrote the legendary phrase: "I believe in the lust of the flesh and the incurable loneliness of the soul" (from the play Gertrud), quoted by generations of Swedish teenagers suffering their first disappointment in love.

If you can't make it to the Wyndham's Theatre, I heartily recommend digging out Doctor Glas as a novel or Söderberg's other novel The Serious Game as they are both excellent and translated to English.

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