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Amanda Svensson

A System so Magnificent it is Blinding

In October 1989 a set of triplets – Sebastian, Clara and Matilda – are born at the hospital in Lund under dramatic circumstances. The same night another child is born in the same maternity ward, a girl with remarkably blue eyes.

More than two decades later neuroscience graduate Sebastian Isaksson is recruited by the mysterious organisation London Institute of Cognitive Science in Russell Square, managed by the eccentric American Rudolph Corrigan. Here Sebastian becomes the guardian of a monkey with a moral compass, and here he is also assigned several patients, most noticeably a young mother named Laura Kadinsky who intrigues him in more than one way.

Meanwhile, his sister Clara travels to the remote Easter Island to interview a man who is waiting for the approaching apocalypse. Recently fired from her job, she is looking for a purpose and a sense of belonging, which she may well have found in doomsday prophet Jordan and his small group of dedicated followers.

Third sibling Matilda finds herself in rural northern Sweden with her boyfriend Billy and his daughter Siri. She has fallen out with Clara and desperately tries to reach out to her. There is also the fear that she may be pregnant and the colour blue begins to haunt her.

As if matters were not complicated enough the triplets receive distressing news from their mother that their father, her ex-husband, has gone missing and that he has left behind a twenty-five year old secret that will soon alter everything they ever knew, particularly for one of them.

Amanda Svensson’s fourth book is a quirky and maze-like novel about small, seemingly insignificant details that may just be pieces of a bigger picture. But more than anything it is a story about family, about misunderstandings, shortcomings and forgiveness. A System so Magnificent it is Blinding is a literary tour de force about the human mind and the human soul.

“This is a prismatic, hilarious, and deeply intelligent novel overflowing with wisdom about the complexities of being alive — I read it ravenously, and with pen in hand.
—Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

“With gorgeous prose and a wry wit, Amanda Svensson offers readers at once a novel of family, love affairs, the search for meaning, of grief and of sibling rivalry — of triplets with a twist.”
—Donna Freitas, author of The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano

“Playfully experimental … enjoyable … funny.”
The Guardian

“A wild 529-page trip … magnificent”
The Telegraph

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WARWICK PRIZE FOR WOMEN IN TRANSLATION 2023

LONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE 2023

WINNER OF THE PER OLOV ENQUIST LITERARY PRIZE 2019

WINNER OF SVENSKA DAGBLADET’S LITERATURE PRIZE 2019

SHORTLISTED FOR VI’S LITERATURE PRIZE 2020

Amanda

About the author

Svensson

Amanda Svensson is an author, a cultural journalist and a translator. She made her debut in 2008, and her novels have been shortlisted for and awarded numerous prestigious prizes. A System so Magnificent it is Blinding (2019), Svensson’s latest novel, was awarded the Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize and Svenska Dagbladet’s Literature Prize. It was…

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About the book

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Denmark: Modtryk, France: Actes Sud, Germany: Luchterhand/Random House, Greece: Gutenberg, Netherlands: Wereldbibliotheek, Norway: Gyldendal, Poland: Pauza, Romania: Editura Art, Serbia: Blum, Slovenia: Zalozba Pivec, Turkey: Epsilon, UK: Scribe (World English language rights)

In October 1989 a set of triplets – Sebastian, Clara and Matilda – are born at the hospital in Lund under dramatic circumstances. The same night another child is born in the same maternity ward, a girl with remarkably blue eyes.

More than two decades later neuroscience graduate Sebastian Isaksson is recruited by the mysterious organisation London Institute of Cognitive Science in Russell Square, managed by the eccentric American Rudolph Corrigan. Here Sebastian becomes the guardian of a monkey with a moral compass, and here he is also assigned several patients, most noticeably a young mother named Laura Kadinsky who intrigues him in more than one way.

Meanwhile, his sister Clara travels to the remote Easter Island to interview a man who is waiting for the approaching apocalypse. Recently fired from her job, she is looking for a purpose and a sense of belonging, which she may well have found in doomsday prophet Jordan and his small group of dedicated followers.

Third sibling Matilda finds herself in rural northern Sweden with her boyfriend Billy and his daughter Siri. She has fallen out with Clara and desperately tries to reach out to her. There is also the fear that she may be pregnant and the colour blue begins to haunt her.

As if matters were not complicated enough the triplets receive distressing news from their mother that their father, her ex-husband, has gone missing and that he has left behind a twenty-five year old secret that will soon alter everything they ever knew, particularly for one of them.

Amanda Svensson’s fourth book is a quirky and maze-like novel about small, seemingly insignificant details that may just be pieces of a bigger picture. But more than anything it is a story about family, about misunderstandings, shortcomings and forgiveness. A System so Magnificent it is Blinding is a literary tour de force about the human mind and the human soul.

“This is a prismatic, hilarious, and deeply intelligent novel overflowing with wisdom about the complexities of being alive — I read it ravenously, and with pen in hand.
—Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

“With gorgeous prose and a wry wit, Amanda Svensson offers readers at once a novel of family, love affairs, the search for meaning, of grief and of sibling rivalry — of triplets with a twist.”
—Donna Freitas, author of The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano

“Playfully experimental … enjoyable … funny.”
The Guardian

“A wild 529-page trip … magnificent”
The Telegraph

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WARWICK PRIZE FOR WOMEN IN TRANSLATION 2023

LONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE 2023

WINNER OF THE PER OLOV ENQUIST LITERARY PRIZE 2019

WINNER OF SVENSKA DAGBLADET’S LITERATURE PRIZE 2019

SHORTLISTED FOR VI’S LITERATURE PRIZE 2020

Reviews

Svensson’s riddling magnum opus is eerily enjoyable
The Guardian
With her wit and carefully composed plot Svensson has more in common with the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition, than the Swedish

There is such an enormous amount of energy and vitality in Amanda Svensson’s prose, an energy that is instantly recognisable from her previous books. There is not a single stale sentence, not a single dull repetition or artificial response. She seamlessly moves between the novel’s different moods and she can be insanely funny without losing any of the fundamental sincerity /… / With her wit and carefully composed plot Svensson has more in common with the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition, than the Swedish.

Östersunds-Posten
A Magnificent System is a Shakespearean drama full of mix-ups and bewilderment /… / Amanda Svensson has a voice that surges through the pages, the story is as light as a melancholic romcom by Woody Allen.
Arbetarbladet
This is a funny, entertaining, agile novel about the life that goes on while we stand by the brink of catastrophe looking down

Most things happen in the dialogue, which Amanda Svensson writes with an awareness of how different personalities and emotions materialise through language. She covers the whole spectrum from autistic bluntness to anxious artifice and it is a pleasure to notice how characters develop and expand /… / This is a funny, entertaining, agile novel about the life that goes on while we stand by the brink of catastrophe looking down. Should we be having children? Do we dare to love? The three siblings hesitate, indulge, reunite and part.

Dagens Nyheter

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