At a Loss turns into a very brave attempt to understand, not forgive but understand, male domestic abuse, by depicting a man’s alienation and inadequacy in a coordinate system where the fixed points – the mother, the wife, the daughter – constantly educates, judges and forgives, but refuses to see him for who he really is. The novel is apparently the final part of a triptych about relationships, but still we have only just seen the beginning of an authorship that is stringent, nuanced and austerely poignant in a way that makes Agnes Lidbeck one of Swedish prose’s foremost contemporary voices. I can’t remember, off the top of my head, when I last read a novel that affected me so deeply, that has lingered for so long and that still, as I’m browsing my review copy, has made me so melancholic yet so excited about the prospects of literature .
Agnes Lidbeck has a knack for finding the most hideous, the most trivial, but also the true darkness in our modern lives /… / With her triptych Lidbeck has composed a distressingly universal work about contemporary life that will be relevant for some time to come.
Lidbeck’s ability to write about the passing of time, days and years that blend into one, is on a par with Virginia Woolf, and her fictive universe recalls Bergman.
Upsala Nya Tidning
Agnes Lidbeck is magnificent at finding the pressure points that expose human irrationality /… / A less gifted author would probably not manage the structure. The gaps in both plot and time between the book’s five sections could have made the story sweeping but Lidbeck achieves it splendidly. The perfect pitch, the stylistic acuity, the superb personification, the elegance of the responses that only take place through a phrase or a thought: everything suggests Lidbeck’s significance as an author and becomes a joy to read.