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Book Club: Fishing in Utopia – Sweden and the Future That Disappeared

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Book Club: Fishing in Utopia – Sweden and the Future That Disappeared
This book is part travelogue, part memoir, part non-fiction as the narrator tries to understand both his own and Sweden's past. Photo: AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis
06:57 CET+01:00
In December, The Local Sweden's Book Club is diving into a narrative non-fiction book that explores Sweden's reputation as a socialist paradise through the eyes of a British immigrant. Join us as we read Fishing in Utopia – Sweden and the Future That Disappeared by Andrew Brown this month.

Part travelogue, part memoir, but not fitting neatly into any defined genre, the book follows Englishman Brown as he returns to the country where he had spent time as a child and during his first marriage.

He sets out to drive "as far as I could into Sweden".

When Brown left the country in the 1980s, his marriage had fallen apart and Sweden was experiencing changes of its own. The assassination of the prime minister, Olof Palme, during that decade has often been called the moment when the Nordic country "lost its innocence", and Brown's exploration of Sweden 20 years later could be seen as an attempt to get closer to both his own and Sweden's past. 

When he returns, he feels that the Sweden he knew no longer existed. But is that a true reflection of reality, or the effect of rose-tinted nostalgia? Or did the Sweden he thought he knew ever exist at all?

Brown's journey through Sweden also includes plenty of time spent fishing, as the title suggests, and time in solitude in the country's vast forests.

Fishing in Utopia has been described as "a lament for a lost Eden" and won the Orwell Prize in 2009.

The Local will be hosting our final Book Club meetup on December 12th at the English Bookshop in Stockholm (but don't worry, the Book Club will continue online next year!). The event is free, and you're welcome to join us even if you haven't read or finished this book by then, but please sign up in advance to secure your spot.

Join The Local Sweden's Book Club on Facebook and sign up to our newsletter to receive updates and highlights from the group, have your say in what we read next, and chat to fellow bookworms.

And you can always get in touch by email (Members of The Local can log in to comment below) if you have book suggestions, opinions on this month's book, or any other ideas for the Book Club.

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