Happy Nation by Liza Marklund

 

A former politician is severely tortured and then found unconscious in his fancy home in Solsidan outside Stockholm, Sweden. His wife Nora is missing without a trace and their children is found at his sister’s house. The event becomes front page news as everyone is trying to find out what has happened.

Annika Bengtzon

Newspaper reporter Annika Bengtzon’s private life has changed and she lives with a new man, his children and her own children that she has shared custody of. Her ex-husband Thomas struggles with the aftermath from the kidnapping in Marklund’s last novel and he has not accepted Annika’s new life.

Annika still works for the same newspaper and the Editor in Chief, Anders Schyman, is accused of having fabricated the story that gave him the prestigious Great Journalist Award many years ago. He asks Annika to investigate the story.

Mixed Quality

Happy Nation is the tenth, and second to last, novel in the series about Annika Bengtzon. Maybe just as well. Even though I respect Annika Bengtzon and appreciate that Marklund created a female main character, it feels like she has gone through enough, at least for a while. The novels have been of mixed quality; Happy Nation is better that the last one, Borderline, but does it not quite as good as A Place in the Sun.

A Doll’s House

Marklund says that she was inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s drama A Doll’s House. In Ibsen’s work, Nora abandons her husband and three children and Nora chooses a similar fate in Marklund’s version. The novel is about peoples’ desire to show a perfect facade, double standards, parenting and social acceptance.

 

Original title in Swedish: Lyckliga gatan

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