Book Club: In November we’re reading Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson

This November, dive into a Swedish modern classic that is a quick read likely to stay with you for a long time.

Book Club: In November we're reading Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson
A book about love, and 'the gulf between words and thoughts'. File photo: fotografierende/Pexels

Wilful Disregard, translated by Sarah Death, won Sweden's highest literary award, the August Prize.

It's about the relationship between sensible Ester, who leaves her partner for artist Hugo, and becomes obsessed with earning his approval.

This is an unequal relationship, the scales tipped by both Hugo's fame and Ester's complete devotion and willingness to make sacrifices for him, with the book focusing on searing character observations rather than plot.

As it states early on, the novel is about: “The dreadful gulf between thought and words, will and expression, reality and unreality, and the things that flourish in that gulf, are what this story is about.”

To join in with the Book Club, all you have to do is find a copy of Willful Disregard and let us know what you think of the book. Throughout the month and beyond, we'll be discussing the book in our Facebook group, so here are a few questions to keep in mind:

  • What would you say to Ester or Hugo, if you knew them personally?
  • The subtitle of Wilful Disregard is 'a novel about love'. What do you think it tells us about love?
  • …And what else would you say it is a novel about?
  • What did you think about the depictions of the two main characters, and how accurate do you think Ester's descriptions of her own and Hugo's characters are?
If you'd like to share your thoughts on Willful Disregard, ideas on what we should read next or other suggestions for the Book Club, join The Local Sweden's Book Club on Facebook, or send us an email.

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