20 September 07 | Chad W. Post

I feel like I’m pretty knowledgeable about international authors, but I have to admit that I’ve never heard of Swedish author Klas Östergren, whose latest novel is reviewed in today’s New York Sun:

Klas Östergren is hailed as one of Sweden’s most important living writers. Swedish critics have compared his writing to that of Paul Auster and Haruki Murakami, whose influences are clearly felt in Mr. Östergren’s fourth novel, Gentlemen (MacAdam/Cage, 375 pages, $25), an elegantly written work of metafiction.

The book sounds really interesting—the story of three artists during the years of 1948 to 1978. Sounds funny, light, and kind of wild, until things take a slightly darker turn.

It is not until three-fifths through the novel that the brothers’ ideals collide with reality, and the book, hitherto an episodic, plotless account, is plunged into its most sustained and gripping action. For about 50 pages, Gentlemen becomes a political thriller as Leo unravels a dark secret in Sweden’s history involving the Third Reich. Although he endeavors to bring the story to light, the powers that be stymie him, driving him first to a mental institution, and then to the bottle.


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