Agnes Lidbeck has written a sharp and haunting debut. The sharpness is in her gaze, how she chooses to follow large parts of this woman’s life but also how she does it like it was all make-believe, taking place somewhere else. /…/ And Lidbeck’s own gaze is never judging, which enhances the tension. She lets Anna observe her own body, his body, the fluff on the children’s heads and their gestures, from a neutral point, like no one have ever done it before. She’s not afraid of Anna’s incapacity, which could be read as coldness - no, she’s examining the world from what it is. The little world. For that is the one in which Anna is stuck.
In my years as a literary critic I have rarely come across anything like it. Finna sig is a sensational debut.
It is tremendously skilfully done /…/ Agnes Lidbeck writes with an exact clarity, stripped and pregnant. The story flows through a series of statements, Anna’s actions documented without unnecessary adjectives or elaborations. It is effective, only that which must be there is there. The children, for instance, are only glimpsed in subordinate clauses, they are not important by themselves, only as objects for Anna’s motherly role. It is efficient and strangely entertaining, a really twisted look upon the everyday life, emphasizing the absurdness of our everlasting turns to fit our doughy bodies into hard structures.
Sometimes you come across real gems: books that are interesting, well-written and well-balanced between a neat linguistic style and an engaging story. Rarely, they come from debutants. Agnes Lidbeck’s debut novel, about women’s roles, self-realization and being content, is an exception.