About the book
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Spring 2016. Since receiving the August Prize for Life at Any Cost two years previously, Kristina Sandberg’s life has mainly involved travelling near and far to talk about housewife Maj. She is one of the country’s most popular authors and she knows that she has to take advantage of this time and this opportunity. Even though she is beginning to feel exhausted and worn-down. And then there is that pain: an ache that spreads from her breast into her arm, making her hand go numb. But she postpones the mammography appointment as there is so much else on her agenda: texts to be written, a family holiday in Cornwall and the prestigious invitation to the Ingmar Bergman week. She is finding herself in a state of burnout frenzy, but at the same time she knows that she will soon be able to take some time off.
Then she receives a phone call. Her father has passed away. He has been found dead on the floor of his house in Moliden, six hundred kilometres away. Shortly thereafter she learns her fate: aggressive breast cancer, three tumours – one big and two smaller ones. A new life takes shape, one that concerns loss, mourning, the fragility of the own body and the fear of dying and leaving the children behind.
Kristina Sandberg’s auto-fictive portrayal of this period is a powerful, deeply affecting and psychologically penetrating text. It also looks back on a 1970s childhood and the memories lost when she and her sister are forced to sell the house that was also their father’s family home. But above all, this is a story of how the cancer puts her in a very lonely place, one where other people’s responses and silences are pivotal, one where the words can’t seem to get across.
This is an endlessly rich book that covers so many aspects of life
This is a story that I already know I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It is so full of vivid scenes, ambiguous emotions and thought-provoking reflections, all of it rendered with an incredible acuteness and poignancy /…/ This is an endlessly rich book that covers so many aspects of life. A Lonely Place concerns a cancer diagnosis, but also everything else that is disappearing: not least time. But it is just as much, and that is important, a book about experiences, insights and also new people that are added to her life. And yes, the illness is a lonely and desolate place. But Kristina Sandberg has such a formidable ability to interpret, which makes that place a little easier to understand. With this portrayal she has paved way and brightened the path for all of us who eventually, sooner or later, will find ourselves there.Dagens Nyheter
To read A Lonely Place is like finding yourself in an old, ramshackle house where the storm blows straight through; you read ferociously to escape from there
I never thought that I – a 35-year-old father-of-three – would devour a medically detailed portrayal of breast cancer. But I do. To read A Lonely Place is like finding yourself in an old, ramshackle house where the storm blows straight through; you read ferociously to escape from there. Sandberg tells us how her rib cage turns blue from a radiocontrast agent. She writes about losing her sexuality when the Tamoxifen ejects the oestrogen. She portrays the more solemn tragedy that takes place in the background, when her father passes away /… / It is a completely merciless text. The fact is that I have not felt this grief-stricken by a novel for several years /… / I am also fascinated with Sandberg’s way of narrating, by simply listing events. Because that is how life is conceived during intense periods. It flows through us like the ebb and flow of the tide.Etc
It is a naked, intimately sincere text
It is a naked, intimately sincere text, where she not only exposes herself but also her mother and father. The alcohol-riddled father who lived in some sort of wretchedness towards the end. And the hypochondriac mother-in-law whom she cannot stomach. Sandberg is a trained psychologist but also an ordinary human being. The denudated text grabs hold of me from the start and never lets go, which is very skilfully done. Sandberg continually writes in the present tense and this way she creates a sense of urgency, and also intimacy /… / She is sharp, remorseless, humoristic and very intense as she describes the disease as a very lonely place to be and something that cannot be changed or cured by words.Skånska Dagbladet