Alex and Smilla – Missing

De försvunna


I read about the bidding for the international rights for this novel and became curious. The novel had barely been published in Sweden and there was already so much interest abroad. What’s so special about it? I had to see for myself, so I downloaded the novel and started reading.


The publisher summarizes the novel like this: “On an idyllic late summer evening Greta, Alex and four-year old Smilla take a boat from the holiday cottage by mythical lake Maran and steer toward the small island in its centre. Greta remains behind in the boat whilst the other two go ashore to explore. Hours pass, but Alex and Smilla don’t return. Confused, Greta makes her way ashore, certain she’ll find them caught up in some game. Calling out and searching the island, she can find no trace of the two. They’ve simply vanished. No trace left behind. The mysterious disappearance, and the feverish search that follows, lead Greta step-by-step down into an abyss of confusion and increasing darkness…”


If you were to summarize the novel with one word it would be – unpredictable. You never know what is real, dream, imagination or fantasy. I get vibes from both Gone Girl and Night Film. Greta’s standard phrase “it escapes me” describes the reading experience perfectly. You think you know what’s going on but since the storyteller never tells the whole truth it is difficult to know for sure. The novel is a very original novel that keeps surprising you.

Too Short?

I have to admit that during the first half of the novel I almost gave up. It was not my style at all. But since it’s a short book, only 209 pages (on my tablet) I decided not to give up. I’m happy I didn’t, because nothing is what it first seems like and when the novel is finished I was exhausted from all its twists and turns, but also happy I finished it. Because otherwise I would have missed the reading experience that Caroline Eriksson gave us, and it turns out that the novel was actually the perfect length.


Original title in Swedish: De försvunna. 

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