cover image The Father: Made in Sweden, Part 1

The Father: Made in Sweden, Part 1

Anton Svensson, trans. from the Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel. Quercus, $26.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-68144-540-3

Svensson, the pseudonym of screenwriter Stefan Thunberg and investigative journalist Anders Roslund, heartbreakingly blurs the line between criminal and victim in this stunning first of a two-novel series based on a sensational string of bank robberies in 1990s Sweden. The present-day action, which chronicles the meticulous planning and execution of the escalating heists carried out by three brothers and a friend (all under the age of 24 and based on Thunberg’s own family members), alternates with flashbacks, which focus on their dysfunctional family: the rage-filled father, Ivan, an emigré from the former Yugoslavia; the sensible mother, Britt-Marie; and their three sons, Leo, Vincent, and Felix. Ivan brings the savagery he learned during the Balkan civil wars into his sons’ childhood, shaping the men they would become, especially Leo, the oldest, who’s to be the architect of the amazingly successful robberies. Svensson highlights one of Scandinavia’s darkest secrets—the brutal, all-too-frequent domestic violence that inspired the Swedish title, Men Who Hate Women, for Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Readers will be eager to see how it all plays out in the sequel. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (Apr.)