Omslagsbild: Gå förlorad

Date of release: 2019-03-27
Pages: 250
Sold to: Norway: Cappelen Damm
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Gå förlorad /At a Loss

Anders is married to Kristina, and father to Anna. Along with his mother, Gunnel, they are all the family he has, and he loves them immensely. Sometimes almost too much, the very thought of them being harmed makes his body tighten and his teeth grind, still he can’t help from imagining the worst-case scenario. To lose them would be the worst thing of all – yet still alluring. If you are alone, you cannot be deserted.

Anders, like his mother, is a psychologist, and he runs his practice in his mother’s offices/apartment. Unlike his mother, he carries no grand ambitions. Someday, he will try to find another office to work from. (Someday, his mother’s apartment will be his instead.) He bakes sour-dough bread, goes for runs, drives his daughter from the stable, pleases his wife in bed, shops for groceries and knows exactly how much fruit is needed. There shall be no room for misunderstandings or displease in their family. Still, something is chafing.

Over the course of twenty years, we accompany Anders as a husband, father and son. A marriage that evolves, a daughter that grows up, a mother that becomes an old woman. In the middle of it all is a man who is watching the events taking place, sometimes crippled by fear, sometimes desperately trying to stop time.

In her new novel Agnes Lidbeck investigates the small truths and the big lies in our lives, the difference between our aspirations and our potentials, the explosive nature of our emotional reactions and our rational explanations for why we couldn't achieve more.

At a Loss is the final, free-standing, part of Lidbeck’s “Playing House” triptych, following Supporting Act and The Rift.


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At a Loss turns into a very brave attempt to understand, not forgive but understand, male domestic abuse, by depicting a man’s alienation and inadequacy in a coordinate system where the fixed points – the mother, the wife, the daughter – constantly educates, judges and forgives, but refuses to see him for who he really is. The novel is apparently the final part of a triptych about relationships, but still we have only just seen the beginning of an authorship that is stringent, nuanced and austerely poignant in a way that makes Agnes Lidbeck one of Swedish prose’s foremost contemporary voices. I can’t remember, off the top of my head, when I last read a novel that affected me so deeply, that has lingered for so long and that still, as I’m browsing my review copy, has made me so melancholic yet so excited about the prospects of literature .
Agnes Lidbeck has a knack for finding the most hideous, the most trivial, but also the true darkness in our modern lives /… / With her triptych Lidbeck has composed a distressingly universal work about contemporary life that will be relevant for some time to come.
Norra Skåne
Lidbeck’s ability to write about the passing of time, days and years that blend into one, is on a par with Virginia Woolf, and her fictive universe recalls Bergman.
Upsala Nya Tidning
Agnes Lidbeck is magnificent at finding the pressure points that expose human irrationality /… / A less gifted author would probably not manage the structure. The gaps in both plot and time between the book’s five sections could have made the story sweeping but Lidbeck achieves it splendidly. The perfect pitch, the stylistic acuity, the superb personification, the elegance of the responses that only take place through a phrase or a thought: everything suggests Lidbeck’s significance as an author and becomes a joy to read.
Nya Wermlands-Tidningen

Agnes Lidbeck (b. 1981) lives in Stockholm. Her debut novel Supporting Act was one of the most celebrated books of 2017 and was later awarded Borås Tidning's Debutant Prize. It also established Agnes Lidbeck as a popular columnist in Sweden's biggest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter.

Lidbeck's critically acclaimed second novel The Rift was published in 2018. 

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