Thoughts about Love/War by Ebba Witt-Brattstrom, trans. Kate Lambert (Indie Extravaganza Day 16)

There are several review type posts coming up as part of our Indie Extravaganza and we're hoping that along with some great businesses and publishers you'll also discover some fantastic new books to add to your TBR. Of course, you can also win a lot of books in our raffle - tickets are here.

Love/War is the latest title from new publisher Nordisk Books, founded in 2016 and focusing on publishing Scandanvian literature. Excitingly it's not out yet and if you're near London you can attend the book launch at Hatchard's bookshop on November 3rd. Get tickets for that here.

The concept of the novel is intriguing to begin with - the entire book is laid out sort of like a poem, and it's a conversation between two people, She and He, who are trying to decide whether their relationship is ultimately over or not. Throughout the book they recount the wrongs they feeel the other has done them. She is a feminist (Witt-Brattstrom is a founding member of the Feminist Initiative Party in Sweden) and he at various points seems to be very anti-feminist, saying at several points that a man should be in charge in his own house. It becomes clear through the book that the relationship has been abusive and the 'war' of the title is startlingly clear at times.

When I started reading I worried that the unconventional format of the book would make it hard to get into but that very much wasn't the case. The narrative between the two characters is tense and angry for the most part, but like all conversations it goes up and down with the recriminations and occassional moments of what seems like reconcilliation. If you follow us on Instagram you'll have probably seen a photo of an excerpt that I put up in our stories the other day, and it was one of those books where I felt the need to continually take photos or mark it up in some way. I think it should be studied, and I mean that in the best way.

Throughout the book there are one line interruptions which are references to other things - occassionally in English but often in French or German - and I felt much as I did when I was studying T.S Eliot's Four Quartets at university and the whole thing was annotated with all the parts that were references to something else. Love/War actually has an appendix at the back which tells what a lot of the references are from and that's really helpful, but I do feel like I'll want to go back and read it again in order to get the most possible from it.

It was a very quick read for me and really made me think about relationships and the way that people treat each other. At times brutal but also beautiful in the bleakest of ways, Love/War is an excellent addition to any bookshelf.

Of course, you can win it and Nordisk's other two titles in our raffle as they have very kindly donated two three book bundles to our prizes. A little reminder that you can buy raffle tickets wherever in the world you live, as many as you want and the prizes are amazing.

Details and tickets are here.

Catch up on the Indie Extravaganza here and check back tomorrow for another amazing feature.


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