Som hundarna i Lafayette Park

Like the Dogs in Lafayette Park

by Anneli Jordahl

I thought of what Boris said when he was at the most enamored with me: ‘You are not common people, Jeanette.’

Jeanette lives alone and on meager means in the countryside. Her only companion is the dog Boris, named after her husband who was killed in a workplace accident a few years ago. She treasures her memories of Boris fondly; their trips with the caravan to the south of France, his love for French films and wines. Still her life with Boris was not uncomplicated, and towards the end it seemed almost like he was one of her patients at work.

The fate of her husband and the lack of repercussions served to those responsible have made her fixated on accidents at work. In a ‘death book’ she collects news items about any accident occurring, and it is all she talks about when her daughter Fanny calls.

Then a video about Angela Davis, the legend from the civil rights movement, gets her attention. So much of what Davis is saying fit what Jeanette sees in the deaths of workers. Thanks to a Christmas gift from her daughter, Jeanette can attend a convention in San Francisco where Davis is head speaker. There, she tries to find out more about the connection between the civil rights movement and that of the working class, but her attempts are fruitless and she has to return to Sweden without getting any closer to the answer.

A month passes and all that happened during the trip seems strangely remote, unreal. Boris the dog has disappeared. As the snow arrives she finds footprints on the steps to her house, steps that lead to the shed. Someone has been there, eaten and smoked there. And then there’s a knock on the door, and the boy steps into her life. When one door closes, a window opens.

The theme in Anneli Jordahl’s new novel is how to find the inner strength to pursue the dream of obtaining redress. Jordahl once again convinces in her depiction of a fate both mundane and out-of-the-ordinary in a language perfectly tuned, and with it she pinpoints universal matters of heart.

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