Faye, a humiliated and belittled wife from Fjällbacka, Sweden, executes racy revenge on her unfaithful husband in Läckberg’s The Golden Cage (Knopf, July).
What message for today’s women lies in the image of the “golden cage”?
Since forever women have been caged by society’s norms. I want to challenge those norms and encourage women to take control of their own fate and future; to not let the fear of others’ judgment silence you or stop you from doing as you want to do.
Why did you decide to set the novel in Fjällbacka, your home town?
Fjällbacka is a place very close to my heart, so I couldn’t resist writing about it a bit here. I have always had a predilection for stories set in two different times, one in the present and one in the past, and the Fjällbacka setting allows me to develop that. Faye’s childhood there also shows how much she has broken free from her past by geographically distancing herself from her home town.
What does this novel say about women’s capacity for self-sacrifice?
I believe that women all over the world are being told to stay silent and act as so-called good girls. Women are prepared to go very far to please others and fit the norm. Faye is the perfect example of what it is like to lose yourself when you have lived your entire life compromising with your own needs and wishes. In general, women take more social responsibility. Women try to be obedient and self-effacing in order to not create drama or chaos. I wanted to write a novel about a woman who has had enough, who won’t be silenced anymore. I have run out of patience with everyone who tries to silence and limit women and their stories.
How do you feel women and men will respond to this novel?
I hope both women and men will feel empowered by this book. I want it to make them think about the current world order. This is not a book against men, but a loving tribute to sisterhood, a glimpse into what happens when women stick up for themselves and are loyal to other women. I also hope that people will feel uplifted; it can be quite liberating to read about revenge. And even though Faye takes it very far, my hope is that the feeling, or rather the sensation, remains relatable.