Johannes Anyurus has written a compelling novel about Immigrants and outsiders in a future Sweden.The novel highlights non-western immigrants in modern day Sweden. It is a story about insecurity, fears of the future and a feeling of not being at home and accepted. This is from the immigrant side, and alongside this we are constantly confronted with islamists terror attacks as a somber addition to society´s fear of the other.
The scene is set as the novel begins with a Islamic state type terrorist attack. Three muslims take hostages, among whom a famous caricature cartoonist. They mean to assassinate him on camera. But one of the terrorists, a girl, surprisingly aborts the attack. The terrorists are captured, and we follow the anti-heroic girl later in the novel. She ends up in a correctional, psychiatric facility where her situation is seen in a different light. In the novel she assumes the role of a narrator who describes from the what happened to Swedish society in future unfoldings.
The failed terrorist attack comes to be seen as seminal. It strengthens and establishes a popular outlook that´s negative and dismissive towards Islam and immigrants. Islam is seen as the main enemy, based upon its supposedly anti-democratic stance and the looming threat of inhuman terror that it is seen to foster. The author focuses on this hardening of the Swedish society and what it does to the common non-western immigrant. In fact, as the girl recounts, Sweden is soon turned into a control based society where enemies of Sweden are witch hunted and singled out. The authorities construct concentration camps for the unruly. They demand that a " citizen´s oath" of loyalty to Sweden be renewed every six months.
Some of the main characters are actually deeply disappointed with the Swedish mainstream and the hostile attitude against immigrants. They feel that, indeed, maybe the Islamic terrorists are the ones who care about our welfare after all. The novel underlines the more than realistic link between Islamist terrorism and social exclusion, although in a fantastic and extreme version of Swedish society gone far right.
The book changes continually between a placement of the present more familiar society, and the future developments reported by the girl. Suddenly we are back to the psychiatric ward, where her descriptions of the future Sweden is dismissed as schizophrenia. However, the things she describes in many ways remind us of dangers in our familiar present. And this is made interesting and engaging through the fictional and fantastic narrator.
- Avanti Sharma