Marcel Proust took means of an upper-class Madeleine to remember the past. Andrzej Tichý hit bottom more in his new novel “Misery”.
His romanjag, a cellist at Slussen in Malmö are waiting for a couple of fellow musicians, colliding with a bruised young man wonder if he has the “money for a homeless”. The meeting with the young man gets abused cellistens Madeleine. His whole childhood – filled with poverty, violence and drugs – in the residential area of Holma in Malmö, part of the Million Programme, rolled up.
And it all takes place while the cellist and his two colleagues to get to a concert in Copenhagen Cathedral with the German organist Christoph Maria Moosman, who will play works by composers such as Pärt, Cage and Scelsi. The music – serious, all-encompassing, worshipful – has the same tone as the novel. Andrzej Tichýs language is strong musically.
The text would thus two times, on the surface plane in a few hours; three musicians together, chatting about things that affect their musicianship and go to a concert. But while welling cellistens memories of his life until, in long beautiful and black text chunks.
The memories show a bottomless gloomy Sweden, with people who are doomed, locked in a segregated class society, in a residential area, the medial publicity calls “a human garbage dump.” We will close, sometimes nasty close, human degradation, violence and abuse, such as poverty and exclusion breed.
But Andrzej Tichýs novel is more than just a depiction misery (despite its title). Tichý want to make all experiences of equal worth, an important ambition in the hardening and prejudiced social climate we have today. The novel’s motto is taken from Simone Weil: “For our misery, there is nothing we can find on. It is real. That is why we must love it. “
Roman ego settles out of its misery. The first step taken by the music from a radio, he steals in a burglary at a kindergarten. The music makes him yearn for something else. And he gets there. He repeats: “I got away.” But there is his experience and its “enormous weight and constant presence.”
In the passages related to memory and its inevitable fraudulence moving text elegant and existential deep drilling. And the end, I wish I could reveal it, is performed with a stylistic precision that impresses.
Andrzej Tichýs debut novel “Six liters of air”, which takes place in the same worn residential “misery”, got Borås Tidning Debut Award in 2006. His subsequent novels, the complex social criticism “Field” (2008), and it aesthetically very advanced “Kairos” (2013) was nominated both for the Nordic Council Literature Prize.
“Misery” is the same high literary quality. Andrzej Tichý is a writer who time and again, with a language that sings, says something important about the Swedish contemporaries. Read him.