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Daniel Sjölin

The Deficit

The year is 2122, and much has changed in the world. There is an abundance of words and emotions, but a deficit of everything else: blood, intimacy, oil, integrity, vowels, bodies, memories, precious metals and human rights. Emry Dieker, a governmental director in Sollentunet, and her AI companion Torsten are chasing ‘wakies’ – citizens who put themselves in cryo chambers a century ago to escape mortality, and as illegally thawed are a burden to the taxpayers. But Emry also has a hidden agenda – she saves children, refugees unwanted and unregistered in the new state – in direct opposition to the job she is set out to do. And she needs the wakies to help her care for those rescued.

Severin Stenson had been a strange boy as a child. The words flew freely within him without taking hold in the real world. The only place he had ever felt safe was in the sandbox in his mother’s garden in Sollentuna, he had built his entire world there. As teenager he had suddenly transformed into beautiful and got to experience love, and later, as an adult, he got cancer and died. Now his ever-enterprising, overly loving mother Lisbeth is set on bringing him back.

Severin didn’t choose to be born early, he didn’t choose to be frozen, and he certainly didn’t choose to be thawed back to life – he just wants to die. But what happens when Emry, out of necessity so emotionally constrained, finally get hold of Severin, the man with words that cut like knives in her ears? She and Torsten know that there is something wrong with this world, disruptions of reality like a fleeting deficit, always out of reach for those who can sense its presence. With all these deficits, it is impossible to maintain dignity, but perhaps still not too late to mourn and love.

Daniel Sjölin’s much-anticipated return to the novel format is a book filled with ‘wonky prose’, satire and a serious lack of the letter ‘A’, as if Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs had thrown a literary party together.

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About the author

Sjölin

Daniel Sjölin (b. 1977) made his debut in 2002 with The Worry, Brother and was awarded the prestigious Borås Debutant Prize. In 2004, Personal Pronouns was published, followed by The World’s Last Novel in 2007, which was shortlisted for the August Prize. Since then, Sjölin has written adventure novels together with Jerker Virdborg (pen name: Michael Mortimer) and children’s fiction, while…

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About the book

The year is 2122, and much has changed in the world. There is an abundance of words and emotions, but a deficit of everything else: blood, intimacy, oil, integrity, vowels, bodies, memories, precious metals and human rights. Emry Dieker, a governmental director in Sollentunet, and her AI companion Torsten are chasing ‘wakies’ – citizens who put themselves in cryo chambers a century ago to escape mortality, and as illegally thawed are a burden to the taxpayers. But Emry also has a hidden agenda – she saves children, refugees unwanted and unregistered in the new state – in direct opposition to the job she is set out to do. And she needs the wakies to help her care for those rescued.

Severin Stenson had been a strange boy as a child. The words flew freely within him without taking hold in the real world. The only place he had ever felt safe was in the sandbox in his mother’s garden in Sollentuna, he had built his entire world there. As teenager he had suddenly transformed into beautiful and got to experience love, and later, as an adult, he got cancer and died. Now his ever-enterprising, overly loving mother Lisbeth is set on bringing him back.

Severin didn’t choose to be born early, he didn’t choose to be frozen, and he certainly didn’t choose to be thawed back to life – he just wants to die. But what happens when Emry, out of necessity so emotionally constrained, finally get hold of Severin, the man with words that cut like knives in her ears? She and Torsten know that there is something wrong with this world, disruptions of reality like a fleeting deficit, always out of reach for those who can sense its presence. With all these deficits, it is impossible to maintain dignity, but perhaps still not too late to mourn and love.

Daniel Sjölin’s much-anticipated return to the novel format is a book filled with ‘wonky prose’, satire and a serious lack of the letter ‘A’, as if Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs had thrown a literary party together.

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