Brief book review: The Dwarf

I've decided that a brief book review is a short review of an under 250-page novel. (For me, that's short.)

Today's selection is The Dwarf by Pär Lagerkvist.

You know how every so often the Swedes award a Nobel Prize to another Swede, just to keep it in the family? Lagerkvist won the 1951 Nobel Prize for Literature. I was thinking this was one of their throwaway prize years and greeted the book with a bit of skepticism.

“Erik liked that book,” Monstro said. Plus, my best girlfriend is in Sweden right now. So I decided to give it a go.

So glad I did! This character, who supplies the narrative voice, is compelling, and I recognized enough of myself in him to make me a little uncomfortable. The novel is funny except when it's not, horrifying despite the straightforwardness of description and motive, and the last sentence is seriously heartrending.

The Dwarf by Pär Lagerkvist reads quick and even features Da Vinci as a supporting player. I highly, highly, highly recommend this novel, and shall myself be searching out Lagerkvist's two collections of stories: The Eternal Smile and The Marriage Feast.

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