My Life as a Dog

Reidar Johnson, Author, Reidar Jonsson, Author, Eivor Martinus, Translator
Reidar Johnson, Author, Reidar Jonsson, Author, Eivor Martinus, Translator Farrar Straus Giroux $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-35108-3
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
``I have an incredible knack of doing the wrong thing all the time although I am always trying hard to do the right thing,'' confesses the 13-year-old hero of this exceptional Swedish novel, the basis of a recent film (and of inevitable comparisons with Catcher in the Rye ). It is 1959, and Ingemaar's mother has died after a protracted illness. His seaman father absent, the boy's siblings are yet again dispatched to separate destinations, and Ingemaar himself is packed off to an uncle for a second and perhaps indefinite stay. Armed only with his awe-inspiring imagination and desperately good intentions, Ingemaar tries all at once to conquer his grief, satisfy his curiosity about sex (and other aspects of adulthood) and reorder his fractured existence. But his efforts beget new forms of chaos--objects are lost or destroyed, skylights are crashed through, fires started, sexual experiments ruinously interrupted. Jonsson's candor matches his tender poetics as he maps the uncertain land where the comic and tragic meet. (June)
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