This is a story about three more or less temporary visitors in the interior of Västerbotten: King Charles XV, Jesus Christ and the decrepit revivalist Olof Helmersson. And about a particularly rare schnapps.
During the 1950s, the revivalist movement enjoyed a final blossoming in the Västerbotten’s interior. One of the dominant preachers was Olof Helmersson, widely praised for his impressive physical strength and his forceful sermons. When the revivalist movement began to wane he disappeared – nobody knew where – and now, fifty years later, Helmersson returns. However, the community has changed beyond recognition. As has his preaching.
Torgny Lindgren, born in 1938, has for several decades been one of the leading figures in Swedish literature and on the world scene today. He has been awarded the August Award, the Swedish National Book Award, and the Nordic Prize, and his novels have been published in more than twenty-five languages. Since 1991 he is also a member of the Swedish Academy. His descriptions from Västerbotten, the northern Swedish province where he grew up, are modern classics; they include such works as Ormens väg på hälleberget, Ljuset and the three latest novels Hummelhonung, Pölsan andDoré’s Bible all three together constituting a unique triptych.
Short-listed for the August Prize 2007
The Jury’s motivation:
"Torgny Lindgren is a drastic philosopher, a crafty storyteller in this melancholy tale about a part of a Sweden that is gradually disappearing. The former evangelist preacher returns to a village – now virtually depopulated – to humbly apologize but finds that life has already done its work. The storytelling in itself is a vital participant in this tender story about coming to terms with the futility of life."