Omslagsbild: Babetta

Date of release: 2022-01-26
Pages: 330
Sold to: Denmark: Modtryk, Estonia: Rahva Raamat, Finland: WSOY, France: Robert Laffont, Norway: Pax, Poland: Poznanskie, Russia: Ripol

Babetta

Katja and Lou have been best friends ever since they first met in a high school drama class. But while Katja has had to abandon her acting dreams, Lou has become an international film star, a career that took off thanks to the celebrated costume drama Babetta.

It’s summer, and Lou has asked Katja if she wants to come and spend the vacation with her at a chateau in southern France where she lives with Renaud, a legendary French cinematographer twice her age. Katja is on a break from her university film studies, awaiting a decision whether they will finance her dissertation, so the trip suits her well. But perhaps even more important: when Lou calls, Katja comes – just the way things have always been.

Despite Lou’s obvious power advantage, their friendship seems at first unchanged. They share everything like siblings, or like two sides of the same mirror. For Katja, Lou and Renaud’s world appears surreal, more fantasy than reality. She observes her hosts with a reluctant fascination, trying to decipher Lou’s moods and the nature of her relationship with Renaud. As the weeks go by, Katja finds herself more and more entangled in their games. Strange things start to occur, truth and lies seem impossible to tell apart, as if reality is bending at someone's will. Is Lou simply using their friendship as part of a bizarre, staged act of play?

Following the immense success with her polyphonic novel Testament, Nina Wähä returns with an enigmatic psychological chamber play that is also a tribute to the art of filmmaking with all its heroes and villains. In Babetta, Wähä explores the symbiosis of a female friendship bordering on exploitation, as in Ingmar Bergman’s Persona and Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, and at the same time she skilfully captures the sun-drenched suspense from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley and François Ozon’s Swimming Pool.

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LATEST REVIEWS

I love what Nina Wähä achieves with Babetta. It is both magnificent and epic, at the same time as it is breathlessly claustrophobic. I love that Nina Wähä brings the creative movie aesthetics to literature. I love how Nina Wähä commands her fictional characters like puppets into the smallest frame. I love both endings of the novel. My superlatives are not enough to express how masterful Babetta is as a novel and as a framework. Nina Wähä is simply a genius!
Borås Tidning
Wähä allows the friendship in Babetta to expand in every direction, to be both tender and generous, entertaining yet challenging, defenceless yet calculating. The result is a thought-provoking novel, with a deliciously playful composition.
Svenska Dagbladet
Contemporary literature is brimming with parallel stories, cross-cutting, chapters that end in a cliffhanger. None of this feels new anymore, yet I believe I have never previously read a novel like Nina Wähä’s Babetta /… / With Babetta, Wähä successfully creates an ambitious ambiguity that lingers, like a really good film that you can still recall long after you have left the cinema.
Expressen
Babetta is at once a relationship drama, a puzzling mystery and a sultry summer thriller where the atmosphere becomes increasingly suffocating day by day. Tremendously stylish /… /Babetta is glossily enticing and an intellectually rich novel that deftly challenges our way of seeing. Whose eyes do we use?
Dala-Demokraten

Nina Wähä (b. 1979) saw her major breakthrough in 2019 with third novel, Testament. It has sold more than 120.000 copies to date and was shortlisted for a string of literary awards, such as the August Prize, Norrland's Literature Prize, Tidningen Vi:s Literature Prize, and was awarded Swedish Radio's Literature Prize.

In addition to being an author, Wähä also teaches Creative Writing and is employed as a freelance editor. She has previously worked as an actress and been a lead singer of indie band Lacrosse.

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