“I’ve tried to write it all out of me, and this is in many ways functioned as a kind of therapy,” Ingrid Wall told TT newswire about the book: “The book of Kim Wall: when words end”, which was published in Sweden on Friday.
In a long interview at her beachfront home outside the southern city of Trelleborg, she said she had decided to write a book about her daughter shortly after her torso was found.
“I wake in the middle of the night. Two thoughts have been bashing around in my head through my uneasy slumber,” she writes in the book. “One is that Kim should live on through a stipendium. She should not be forgotten.
“The second is that book, the true story, must be written. Kim should be presented as the engaged and strong-willed women she was, as the person and journalist Kim Wall — not as the victim.”
Soon she was spending evenings sitting in a shed in her garden, with its view over the Öresund Straits, noting down her memories of her daughter’s childhood, and of her promising career as a journalist.
But she also recorded the terrible events of last year as they happened: the discovery of her daughter’s remains in the Öresund, the details of the murder investigation, and the experience of meeting her murderer in court.
“It’s extremely pleasant that the justice process is now completely over,” Ingrid Wall told TT.
“The sensation when we met each other's eyes in the courtroom, I want to keep to myself,” added Joachim Wall, Kim Wall’s photographer father, who has cowritten the book.
“But it was important that Kim had someone there, to show him that he had done something terrible to us.”
Ingrid Wall this summer also described the painful day she learned of her daughter's life in a long radio essay broadcast this summer in English and also in Swedish.
The book includes anecdotes from her daughter’s childhood and from the family’s holidays together, her time at the London School of Economics, and Columbia University, and her exciting reporting journeys across the world.
“She was not at all interested in mighty potentates, but instead looked for little people with strange stories,” Ingrid Wall said of her daughter’s journalism, which was published in Time Magazine, The New York Times, and the Guardian, among others.
The couple have left their daughter’s bedroom as it was when she died, and a full 175kg of possessions sent from her far-flung homes in New York, Beijing and London, still lie in the boxes in which they arrived here last January.
“It’s tough to open the boxes and start to root around in all her private things. One day we have to do it, but it can wait,” said Joachim Wall.
One of her possessions, a neon sign of the word Atom, is hung in pride of place in their living room.
“Kim was really into neon signs, don’t ask me why,” Ingrid Wall told TT of the lamp, which her daughter bought in 2015, shortly after a trip to the Marshall Islands, where she interviewed the German rocket scientist Lutz Kayser about his time making rockets for the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Only now, Ingrid Wall said, is life starting to return to normal.
“The days are easier to live through, they are filled with routine and everyday chores, like work and walking the dog,” Ingrid Wall said. “The nights are worse.”