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Book Review: ‘ A Moth to a Flame’ by Stig Dagerman.

Title: A Moth To A Flame

Author: Stig Dagerman

Length: 206 pages

Publisher: Viking Books


Synopsis: In 1940s Stockholm, a young man named Bengt falls into deep, private turmoil after the unexpected death of his mother. As he struggles to cope with his loss, his despair slowly transforms into rage when he discovers that his father had a mistress. Bengt sweats revenge on behalf of his mother’s memory, but he soon finds himself drawn into a fevered and forbidden affair with the very woman he set out to destroy…

This book was first published in 1948 in Sweden and now has finally published in the U.K. for the first time.

There was so many things to enjoy about this novel. It’s short but so impactful. There are some books that read, like your reading the feelings of someone’s soul, and this one of the books. I love those kind of books. It’s deeply personal and intimate.

It begins with Bengt dealing with the death of his mother. The way grief is described in this book is so real and honest. Never over the top. It’s right to the core. What’s also great about the realness of the grief is towards the end, when Bengt admits maybe his mother wasn’t that great, in death people become perfect, even though it wasn’t the case and I love this novel showed that. It’s so real.

When he finds out this father was having an affair he soon turns to rage, vowing revenge. But when he discovers she’s an ordinary woman, who reminds he a bit of his mother, it soon turns to intrigue, then finally passion. I was worried the affair would seem inconsequential, but it was written so beautifully, and honestly, it felt deep and poignant even though it didn’t last long.

This book has an atmosphere. It’s moody. Set in a foggy, shadow Stockholm, this novel draws you in. It perfectly captures a moment in time, a moment of change and reckoning. With some great characters, who feel so lost yet won’t admit it and beautiful prose that will capture your heart.

Thank you to Viking Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review


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