Skulle jag dö under andra himlar

If I Were to Die Under Other Skies

by Johannes Anyuru

It is the night before New Year’s Eve and burning paper aeroplanes are raining down over the Gothenburg island district of Hisingen. Francis sees them disintegrate and become flecks of flame, then blow away over the blocks of flats. He feels at home.

Six months earlier: twenty-something and there is nothing, only a churning sorrow inside him, only a sea of whistling sand, and all the time he wants to be someone else, somewhere else, he sees it every time he blinks: another city. The street lights, the palm trees – everything has another colour. That’s where he is going to live. He has stopped believing that he will ever get there as he sits in the taxi on his way from the airport, one summer’s day on the other side of the continent. This is when he feels it; his arms and legs hover, as if he were underwater. When he gets out of the car and steps across the street he floats away, up over the heads of people. He is weightless, he grasps hold of a railing, laughing. The next day he meets Nina.

Skulle jag dö under andra himlar is a novel about the longing for meaning that calls through every summer and every life, a poetic but nonetheless crystal clear and simple story about love and friendship, finding God and being pursued by one’s own shadow.

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