This is Anton Marklund’s first crime novel and he expertly handles the suspense. Encompassing everything except Ramona’s gift, it is a realistic crime plot, but so staggeringly beautifully portrayed that it becomes something more essential: a contemplative observation of human helplessness.
Author Anton Marklund has with The Omniscient achieved a Västerbotten noir that may very well be considered one of the best Swedish crime novels this year. With an unusual female lead character and with profound metaphysical reflections on good and evil, guilt, punishment, God’s potential existence and what it actually means to administer justice, it really stands out at the same time as it carries many familiar traits of the genre – social pathos for those who have ended up on the shady side of life, male violence and sexual frustration, a strong unyielding woman, a poetic language that interacts with nature’s wildness and the desolation of the abandoned villages. The subdued, reflective narrator, and the beautiful nature imagery, create a striking contrast to the grotesque crime. The ending offers the reader no peace, but perhaps that’s the intention.
Jenny Andreasson’s perception of both subtle master suppression techniques and sophisticated exercises of power is like a natural force. It works well in symbiosis with the dense, coherent style, and results in a crispy, beautiful prose. This is a pretty brilliant debut with a distinct authority.
Perhaps it’s most meaningful to approach this novel as a piece of alarming theatre criticism of a work that you have not seen yourself. And in that case, everything comes down to deserving the reader’s trust. I’m more than happy to give her mine, as Jenny Andreasson shows that she really knows the most crucial element of theatre criticism. Not analysis, not judgment or clever valuation. The pivotal and impossible task is rather to capture the fateful moments that have already dispersed like smoke and faded away. To make them vivid once again.