Susanna Alakoski takes the next step in his showdown with injustice and obscuring’s Sweden. April Relatives Sweden named her new book, which gives voice to a group that has so far been completely lost in the public debate: The relatives.
– Now I have taken it right to me, just like other people can tell that they have traveled to Majorca, allowed to say what I’ve been through.
Type: Tobias Holmgren
Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell
“Gustavsbergs Ugly center is located at a round house (library) and a bus station. Behind the center there is a terribly bumpy and ugly parking (…) if you go there, I sweep by and pick you up there! “
The instructions in an email from Susanna Alakoski are excellent, even if you choose not to value Centre appearance. A lot around the library glimpsed a bit from where we stand, in the morning chill 7:41, and the large car park next to one of the resort’s supermarkets is very true of the uneven, “guppigare” battle.
Gustavsberg Värmdö outside Stockholm is a so-called expansive municipality, which is growing so fast. It will be built by 2025. The residents of the residential area as our guide lives in a few steps away is the postman, contractors and construction workers – Swedes, Finns and Filipinos – and as a glorified Sweden Finnish working author, date with essay journal April of Relatives Sweden . Today she is on the way to Norrtelje, to keep an inspiring talk on a training for social workers.
In 100 meters, turn right.
SWING … – Yes, yes, I understand.
We have now been swept up, and it Susanna Alakoski running. She is also holding a sensible conversation with the car’s GPS mobile screen that appears to have suffered knows best ‘disease. Eventually, the state apparatus in all cases we have 15 miles to go to our final destination, and then hold snattran.
– Straight. Phew. Then it says not so much.
Something that Susanna Alakoski often mentioned in interviews are the readers amazement that she seems so happy, even though the books she writes relating to such serious topics. And it’s true; tone that runs through his writing, from the acclaimed debut Svinalängorna which was awarded the August Prize in 2006 for this year’s dark diary reflection upon the people of addicts proximity, are uniformly dull. Maybe mostly because of the sad life stories contained in the books. There is not Susanna Alakoski contagious laughter between each chapter, there often heard during an hour and a half long car ride, even when she is talking about gloomy subjects and his own troubled childhood with addicted parents in the Million field Resort in Ystad. That described in Svinalängorna behind a filter of fiction.
The most horrible moment, so here very beginning of our trip, however, has a rather low placement on the gloomy list: The lack of cultural life in the municipality.
A short distance away is a mansion that has been expanded with miniature golf, zoo, lodge, yes, anything is possible. The owner continues to pump money into the project because he believes so much in the idea. Then I think: Why can not I start a small literary café in Gustavsberg? And any offer to pump money until poetry can carry itself.
To arrange literature and poetry evenings, however, a suitable room, and when she and her husband Mats Söderlund, poet, searched one for a couple of years ago it was all there was to hire the kind of huge köplador like everything else at the resort housed in. Then they laid down the idea.
– the Ystad Subway opened a restaurant in the city’s oldest building, a Latin School from type the 1300s. It receives think. Similarly, it took forward to even think of arranging culture in these empty köpladorna standing everywhere in Gustavsberg. Since Värmdö was not supposed to be built from scratch, it has been many barracks. Sheds and köplador are not made for life, they are so mindless. There is a problem: how can you really be able to create cosiness in these areas?
Alakoski gesturing with his free hand while she talks. The answers are long, thoughtful, and comes directly after each question, without any hesitation. Sometime I sense that she wants to get some time to think over his answer, but it is masked elegant with questions to me and the photographer, “where are you from?”, “Do you have children?”, “When was it you came here to Stockholm? “.
With a 30-year career as a social worker – the vast majority of the years here at Värmdö – and a mission that Gudrun Schyman’s press secretary and then the officer in parliament, she understood learned the art of conversation and that converse well. Yet she felt strong feelings of discomfort when she first would speak at a library in conjunction with his first novel.
I remember thinking: How the hell can they know that I can talk? How can they believe something like that? I did not even know what the August Prize was, had no eye on the world of culture, how they searched scholarships, nothing. It was paralyzing.
How did it go?
– In appearance it was someone who interviewed me, and I noticed after a while that it actually went well, that I could talk. As long as I stick to what concerns me so of course I can anything actually. I can be what I write and I have read what I have read. There has been a gradual development. Now I’m pretty confident that lecturers.
We pass Grisslinge seaside, where Susanna Alakoski become nostalgic. “Here comes the sun from the right direction, just like at the beach when I was a child. That kind of thing can mean anything. It is not wise. “
Over the years she and her family lived in Malmö, she felt always irritable when she was at the water, because the sun is not shining from the right direction. She talks about how she needed somewhere to just be sometimes as a child, and that the forest and the water in Ystad became her refuge from the chaos at home. Where could she rest in hours. Gladly received the blow properly, because “I was so happy when it stormed; it felt like all the evil was whipped out of me. “
The car turns into the little village Ängsvik. Susanna Alakoski want to show us the collective house that she, her husband and children lived in the family’s first seven years in Värmdö along with a number of other collectivists – of which Schyman well be said to be the most celebrated. The Great Meadow’s estate was built in the early 1900s, “the most storied house I lived in,” and fringed by forest, an old snickarhus and beautiful weather (for now).
– We were young and had just had children. Me and Mats lived in Malmö with our seven month old daughter. It was of course a revolutionary sense, this being a mother. I remember that I suddenly caught sight of exhaust pipes. I zoomed in exhaust all the time, and I thought that when she sits in the bike will her mouth to be the same height as them.
Through a couple of friends got the wind of public housing on scenic Värmdö and soon made kind of thing. It was wonderful, she says, right from the start. But the village would change, as well as the rest of Sweden. She rests her arms and head against the steering wheel while she looks out over the resort as much like a board of spilled Monopoly houses in different colors seem to be located here and there. At several of the farms are two cars parked; on some three.
– Sometimes there is a welfare quest I do not understand really. That welfare was so much dog clothes. I think this is strange, that it was what was important. Designed food bowls for animals.
A moment we consider the farms, in silence. Susanna Alakoski cast a glance back towards collective house again. Since the buttons on her car gps, kicks off the engine and run out onto the road.
– The writing was just fun. It was like the forest: where I rested. I had no idea when I was little that I would pass something, say something, tell me something. My entire childhood was marked by that I thought it was fun to write, and sometime sometimes became my essays read aloud in school just because they were good.
Susanna Alakoski recollects an important episode from his youth, which she believes has been discussed in any of the books. The protagonist is her Swedish teacher in the first – and only – year of high school: a German by the name of Mrs. Kampf.
– Now I drove the wrong corpse cursed.
The author makes a u-turn on the GPS challenge and A glance in the rearview mirror before she picks up the thread again.
– Yes, it was that she was very strict and said that the class would call her just that, Mrs. Kampf. And then I was the obstinate course, stretched his hand up and said, “then I want you to call me Miss Alakoski”. She did not react as the wife Kampf, I thought she was, but her reaction was instead to be interested. It was confusing.
The teacher asked the 16-year-old rebel to explain how she could reach that position.
– As a teenager I was, I said well something like that we are both human beings and equal worth much. She then asked if her age and position as teacher meant that there was a difference between us two. I said no, and felt understood only dumber and dumber the longer the hearing was underway. Finally she said anyway that she respects my opinion. And from that day, we were like Mrs Kampf and Miss Alakoski.
Susanna Alakoski laughs and shakes his head.
– It was so very nice to meet such a man. But then, I hated high school. I never came into the class, detested social line, my life was an inferno and I felt pythons. But I could write an essay during my time there at the school in Ystad before I finished.
After six months seeking a classmate her up, and said that “at last I have found you! Mrs. Kampf has asked me to look for you to tell me that the essay was the best she read during her time as a teacher. “
That she endeavored to ask someone to find me to convey it. It was so overwhelming. Mrs. Kampf offered it and it meant something to me. I am convinced that it was an important step towards writing.
It would take ten years, with an adult education, studies in social work education in Gothenburg and some time in professional life before she applied to the skrivarlinjen on Skurups college, fifteen years before Svinalängorna was released – Parents of small children was not much time to write.
Do you fear that you debuted so late?
– No, I can more thinking: That it went! I did not give up. I was very close a few times. There’s something about stubbornness. Had I known what I know now, I probably thrown in the towel. But I could not stop.
What knowledge had made you quit?
– how incredibly difficult it is to be accepted with a script. And how good it must be before it gets published. It’s actually hard to write books. It takes a very long time, and needed very great sacrifices if we are to be in the solitude required. Especially when writing prose and have a text that runs between 300-400 pages. There is no one thinks the piece on. You really need industrial peace.
In your new book tells you about a month that Ivar Lo-Johansson spent in his cabin when he signed a work. Have you been able to do as he?
– No, because I have a 16 year old home. I am not leaving her in a month. I so want to be with her every day. I want to see her. Every time I brought it where breakfast and make sure there is food, I become happy. We tried to eat dinner every day together when they were little. Everyday routine has become so important to me. The food is on the table, it will be cleaned up, we have coffee and talk with each other. That one is trustworthy. Everything has been so chaotic in my life, and I am so happy that my children have not had to get through it.
200 meters, turn left. THEN: YOU ARE NOW IN FRONT.
The lecture by Susanna Alakoski will keep for 43 foster homes Secretary, family therapist and supervisor, she has been named the worker’s duty to testify. The common thread is moral courage, and that employees have a responsibility to stand up against their employers for scarce resources that the business is struggling with making human suffering.
She talks about an hour, which gives us time to browse the book in April Relatives Sweden, as I have in the backpack.
As with its predecessor, the October in Poor Sweden , published in 2012, it qualifies for an essay in diary form. Susanna Alakoski write a chapter for each day of the month of April, and leaning against science, personal experiences and not infrequently seekers, literary language when she goes through it that concerns her. The shape lends Alakoski from Virginia Woolf’s A friendly place , the book that perhaps meant the most to her in life (“Mrs. Kampf and Virgina Woolf, so named my heroes”).
The thing that concerns her turns out to be quite a lot. Questions are asked about our view of the working class literature, about the creation conditions, if clean everyday events, of why it nearly always is gray-haired men in train förstaklasskupéer, about the tragedy in her own family and others. Above all, she runs a keen thesis: Society needs to take care of the families. Just as it is to always have a child’s perspective, there should be a relative perspective in the debate and decisions.
“This book is an elegy on insecurity and panic,” the reading on the back, “confusion and chaos. If fulskam and uncertainty. This book is about us that concealed the largest part of our past. “
And, a little further down:
” Spirits instead of presence. Rus instead of reality. We, the relatives, lonely grieving. We with fire ants in your sleep. “
It went well think i. I usually know when I get emails afterwards, if people have really taken it to themselves.
Once again we find ourselves on the road. GPS has given new settings; settings that leads back to a bumpy parking lot, in the heart of a small, expanding island empire.
Between Norrtälje and Gustavsberg need to ride the ferry twice. On one of these huge and yellow-colored steel boats run Susanna Alakoski in, waving apologetically to a truck driver who tutat annoyed at her, and turns off its engine. A heavy rain has begun to fall. The sky is dense and water glistens no longer.
– I like these groups. As you saw, it was mostly women there. It’s the same way in my new business. It is women who will sustain the culture, and most people I see on the library matches.
While we’re on the subject of books, I take this opportunity to pick up my copy of April in Relative Sweden.
Was it you who chose the color?
– Yes. It is turquoise color of hope in some way. In this crap story, I also write out some kind of hope I think. There is a strong color, use of positive, healing context. Plus, my mom always told me that I fit so well in turquoise, she says, laughing.
The last book in the suite, on the Poor Sweden, had burgundy cover. Susanna Alakoski do not know today whether there will be more books in the same style, with new themes, new colors. Right now she feels that the door is closed. The books have been difficult to get out of the fingertips and extremely time consuming. April Relatives Sweden made her even physically ill.
– I got high blood pressure and had to leave it. For a while I was worried that I would not fix it. There was so unbelievable resistance in me to penetrate it necessary to write. It has not happened before. I just wanted to throw the whole idea of the wall. But I wrote it in the end, the attacks. Literally. Sat with the one and only SCCHHHHHKKR. SCCHHKKKRR.
Susanna Alakoski show with his arms how she pressed the keys for dear life and then jerked back his hands, repeated and repeated until it was finished.
She sighs and fixes his gaze on the steering wheel.
It’s so much sadness in the book, she says. And the collective grief as I tried to give voice to, it was like dealing with the world’s grief in some way. Just for drugs. That we lose people we love, only to drugs. Not that one as well happen to run into a tree, but only for drugs. It becomes so large losses.
How turned your parents’ abuse when you got older?
– My father drank himself to death. The last time we met he did not recognize me. It took a long time though he was sober. When he was 64 maybe. He died when he was 65. I’ve heard of fathers who jumps out from bridges and silos and everything. My dad just Segade together. Other jumps, he just … hm.
And you write in the book that you do not know what caused your mother’s death.
– No, but it’s actually something I do not go in on. It’s too hard for me still. I do not know if I will make that trip ever and look at it. My entire childhood was marked by that she made a suicide attempt. So it’s really hard. I touch it now in this book, but there’s something about this that people kill themselves, it …
The tears come. Susanna Alakoski pins bearing on the sentence. She hand up to his eyes.
– Yikes. I am always sad when I talk about it. It is strange, therefore, for there is nothing I have tried to process as much as this particular. And yet, every time I think about it, she did not want to live. At the same time, I want so badly that it also should be, I’ll tell you about it. They own the place everywhere all the time, these freaking suicides. How can life be too.
In a piece with poetic tone of voice in the new book used the line “want to die,” but it’s really no thoughts she really wears on.
– On the contrary, I have always thought that one do not kill themselves. How hard my life becomes, should I take the phone and call someone. I’d rather put me in, do whatever. I do not want to go away from my children. It is a very early decision that I made. So do not. Then I know that you can be mentally ill and commit acts, and life would crash, I can only hope that something so black would not take over.
I can be very black. But I’ve never taken a step in that direction, but instead always done acts for life. I want to live. I want to live, I want to move away from the one I came from, I want to live and not die, I do not want to become dizzy and stoned and kill myself.
The ferry arrives at the bus stop. Susanna Alakoski dries her tears with his sleeve, and struggling up a smile before she starts the engine.
– This is what my book is about. The huge price. When I was 30, I believed in all seriousness that my life would be completely different than it was. Could not imagine the thought that I would get pregnant and that they would not have any grandparents. How can it be that you lose so much? I have got loose so much in my life. But now, maybe. Now maybe life can begin.
War industry: ” It is interesting military history, to put so much time on product development. Gunpowder, swords, guns, god what it has evolved. Sometimes I wonder what it would be if it had sales of that enthusiasm to others. “
Getting a marriage to last: ” Once in the social sector, I met a supervisor who said that it takes intelligence to live together. Should I put it on relationships, one can imagine that to solve problems intelligently. Lack of communication, division of labor and so on. My hottest tip is not to be different when you have young children. It is the toughest time. Wait until it’s over, after 11-12 years. “
The feminist awakening: ” I remember when I came home with gender studies, which tossed about in our relationship quite significantly. We were so young then. It was very crucial to our relationship that my husband was reading the books I read, and that there was a war over it. But otherwise, life became heavier when I became gender-aware. It was probably my blackest period. Yikes, what a pain, to catch sight of the compact and consistently in women’s history; abortion opposition, women’s salaries, well, everything. Legislation, ugh. Art History, ugh. “
His unsuspected talent: ” I dance pretty well. But I probably would not be able to participate in Let’s Dance. Would love to dance the dances, but the exposure I probably would not have put up with. I think I actually do not. “
Criticism: ” I read the reviews, but do not think a thing on them when I write. Sometimes I actually read the criticisms that have helped me understand what it is I have passed by. “
epithet: ” Although I myself say that I am an author, I feel great pride of being called a working writer, and I know that literary history needs its concepts. I am happy to immigrant authors also if anyone wants to call me that. It is perfectly okay. “
Sin bucket list: ” I want to read all the works of literature ever written. I would also like to travel, because I learn so much then. I do not long for the pyramids, but would like to return to what I have experienced as pleasurable, and it’s mountains. I also operate a large bed and breakfast with huge library, linked to a thrift store. I am good at service, can clean well and have always shopped at the flea market. But I would do it, then it becomes a life choices. And it would take time away from writing. “
Susanna Alakoski was born in 1962 in Finland Vaasa but moved at age four to Ystad with the family. Finland calls however. This year she will visit the country six times to, among other things, do research for a novel.