It has been a while since I read a Swedish young adult novel. It's hard to keep pace with Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, British, American, Australian, picturebooks, chapter books, YA books, so once again, I am dependent on friends' and colleagues' recommendations. Or, as it happened two weeks ago, on meeting an author. A real, flesh-and-blood author (not one of those implied authors whom I meet all the time). An author who can also talk about his books and read from them so that you really feel that this is one book you cannot miss. This happened when I listened to Stefan Casta in Stavanger. I know Stefan well, we have worked in the ALMA jury together. I have read some of his books, and they are excellent. I got very curious about his new book that he talked about at the conference, and now I have read it. Den gröna cirkeln. The green circle.
I am hard to please. I am hard to move. I have read dozens of YA dystopias. I was suspicious the moment I realised it was a dystopia. "Not another one!" And then I couldn't put it aside. And I don't care that it is a mix of dystopia, mystery, horror and teen romance, and if you say you've read that, and that you've read first-person crossvocalised narratives with interspersed film script, and you've read metafiction, and you've read books with eco-messages, and it all has been done thousands of times - yes, but I don't care. I didn't read this book, as I often read YA books, to write a review or include in my research. I read it as an average reader, if there is such a thing. Therefore I cannot explain its magic. I just cannot explain why this book is brilliant when dozens of other books, with similar plots and characters and themes and style, are not. This is not like me, but I have run out of words. Thank you, Stefan!