Working at The Local you become aware that foreigners in Sweden often find themselves torn between two views of the country. You know the story: you find yourself drawn to the idea of Swedish egalitarianism, but find it stifling in practice; you fall head over heels in love with the nature, but start to find the dark winters oppressive once the thrill of the snow wears off. Essentially, like expats anywhere, we find plenty of our own reasons to whinge.
In his new autobiographical book, Fishing in Utopia, Andrew Brown’s interest in fishing forms the backdrop for a journey through the Sweden he left twenty years ago, in which he gives a personal account of the Swedish social experiment.
Christina Patterson reviews the book in Britain’s New Statesman:
If this is utopia, it soon becomes clear, it is not entirely sunlit. This country of dark mornings and dark forests, which freezes for months on end, is a place of impressive egalitarianism, but oppressive conformity, a place, in fact, of “crushing” loneliness because “individuals didn’t, in some important sense, exist at all”.