Monika Fagerholm: Lolauppochner [Lola upside down]

20 September 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Lolauppochner
[Lola upside down]
Helsinki: Schildts & Söderströms, 2012. 461 p.
ISBN 978-951-52-2997-7
€ 31, hardback
Lola ylösalaisin
Suomentanut [Translated into Finnish by]: Liisa Ryömä
Helsinki: Teos, 2012. 300 p.
ISBN 978-951-851-480-3
€28.40, hardback

Lolauppochner (‘Lola upside down’) is a more authentic crime novel than the same author’s Den amerikanska flickan (English translation: The American Girl, 2004) and Glitterscenen (The Glitter Scene, 2009), though they too wove their dense fiction around an old crime. Readers who are at ease in Fagerholm’s luxuriant wordscapes with their tragic teens, country bumpkins and summer visitors will still be able to find their way around the small community where Jana Marton, a teenage girl on the way to her job at the local store, discovers the corpse of a boy, a key player among the local gilded youth. The novel’s opening, and many sections that follow, are extremely effective, with sharp and lightning-swift characterisations and a fine intuition for both the fear and the excitement in the social circle where the murder turns up hidden connections like worms from the soil. But the novel is too long for its own good – somewhere towards the end it ceases to gain depth, and the gallery of characters starts to feel too big. All the same, this book is a must for Fagerholm’s readership at home and abroad. A bonus for locals – and attentive outsiders – is present in the outlines of the small seaside town of Ekenäs that can be glimpsed behind the text. They supply a kind of physical magic that rubs off on much else besides – characters, moods and sense of place.
Translated by David McDuff

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