No Child's Land

by Eija Hetekivi Olsson

The parks are littered with trash; the streets are covered with cigarette butts. The litterbins outside the school are on fire, and so is the rage inside Miira. 
Asphalt court yards, concrete buildings and faces hard as stone. The place is called Gårdsten, a suburb outside Gothenburg, just like any other working-class suburb outside any other town. Bored teenagers, junkies and alcoholics share the semi-empty squares and staircases. The litterbins outside the school are on fire, and so is the rage inside Miira. 
Miira is not like the others in the class; shoved together with these kids with similar backgrounds, pre-determined by the school as future cleaners and industrial workers. But Miira wants to become a prime minister or a brain surgeon when she grows up. She alone chooses advanced math in school and shoplifts medical books to study at home.  
She is the kind of girl who never ducks for a fight, who won't giggle when guys grope her, who won't accept any injustices around her. But she is also heavily weighed down by the burden of her own class she wants to be better, to do better, but the society won't always let her. This is a No Child's Land, cemented by blunt bureaucracy and suppressed dreams.  
Eija Hetekivi Olsson's eye-opening debut novel Ingenbarnsland / No Child's Land is set in the Gothenburg suburbs in the eighties, and we follow the girl Miira from her pre-adolescence to her becoming a young woman. Hetekivi Olsson writes expressively and with rarely seen intensity; like a welding flame the novel depicts Sweden after the Welfare State. The portray of Miira is one of the strongest in recent years fiction.

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