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Martin Berg owns a small publishing house that has fallen upon hard times. Spread around him in his Gothenburg apartment are the well-thumbed pages of a manuscript he has spent a lifetime trying to finish writing and the traces of his two children with whom he has increasing difficulty connecting. As Martin faces the inevitability of middle age, the great trauma of his life begins to rear its head once more. Many years ago, Martin’s wife Cecilia walked out of the family’s home and out of their lives – without a trace. What happened to Cecilia and what made her abandon her husband, her children, and the life they had built together?

We move back in time to when Martin and Cecilia met as young intellectuals studying at the university. At their side was always their friend, the deeply troubled artist Gustav Becker. The three friends were devoted to each other and to their work – Martin as a writer, Cecilia as an academic and Gustav as a painter. But while Martin never succeeded in fulfilling his dream of becoming a writer, Gustav became an important contemporary painter, and, before disappearing into thin air, Cecilia showed proof of being a truly remarkable academic mind.

Back in the present we meet Rakel, Martin’s twenty-year-old daughter. Rakel is also reaching a point of crisis: as her hometown of Gothenburg prepares for a retrospective of famous painter and her godfather Gustav Becker’s work, she can’t avoid the images of her lost mother who is featured prominently in nearly all of Gustav’s paintings. Who was the enigmatic Cecilia? Muse to Gustav, wife to Martin, and true perhaps only to herself. When Rakel discovers a clue that could lead her to answers about what happened to her mother, she sets out on a journey through memory and across the European continent in search of the truth.

Collected Works is a radiant debut that catapulted the fiercely talented Lydia Sandgren onto the international stage. At once a poignant bildungsroman, a blazing chronicle of lifelong friendship, and a sweeping family saga with the drive of a mystery, Collected Works poses questions about love, power and art – and what leads us to make the pivotal decisions that change the course of our lives.

Extra Materials

Finland, WSOY Finland, WSOY
Danish cover Denmark, Politiken
b_h21_gesammelte_werke_sandgren Germany, Mare
Italy cover Italy, Mondadori
Netherlands cover The Netherlands, Oevers
Spanish cover Spain, Tres Hermanas
Namnlöst US, Astra House
Skärmavbild 2022-08-26 kl. 10.33.21 Russia, AST

Reviews

“Lydia Sandgren is a debut author, but she writes this novel as if she’s done nothing else for decades…”
Svenska Dagbladet (SE)

“The brilliance of these almost 700 pages casts a shadow over most contemporary Swedish literature.”
Aftonbladet (SE)

“It makes me ecstatic that literature can be this too: a doorstopper of narrative joy, cultivation, and linguistic delight.”
Borås Tidning (SE)

Collected Works is simply an outstanding, remarkable, noteworthy debut – I actually can’t think of more superlatives right now!”
Kristianstadsbladet (SE)

“With this debut, Lydia Sandgren steps forward as a new writer of great importance. Collected Works enriches Swedish writing with extraordinary fiction.”
Sydsvenskan (SE)

“A well written, addictive brick of a novel.”
Elle (SE)

Collected Works is a dramturgical masterpiece and as groundbreaking as any Donna Tartt novel. (…) If I’m to make further comparisons I have to bring out phenomenal storytellers like Klas Östergren and Kjell Westö.”
Expressen (SE)

Collected Works is a weighty and moving novel, and simultaneously entertaining.”
Göteborgs-Posten (SE)

“If there is one thing that Lydia Sandgren has accomplished it is the stirring of emotions.(…) Collected Works is without a doubt the most hyped work of literary fiction published in Sweden this year.”
Kapprakt (SE)

“The hottest debut of the year! If Klas Östergren and Donna Tartt had a love child, who grew up in Gothenburg and became an author, well, there you have Lydia Sandgren.”
Akademibokhandeln (SE)

“Sandgren’s language and storytelling gives life to the minutest of detail – and nothing is left to chance.”
KULT Magasin (SE)

“Neat as in a perfectly composed pop song – catchy, bombastic, irresistable…What’s left to say, therefore, is just that we hope that it doesn’t take another ten years for Sandgren to write her next book.”
Weekendavisen (DK)

“The Swedish debut author Lydia Sandgren has written a highly recommended novel, which is as smart as a funny and perfect parody on the sagacious. It is impactful, fundamentally captivating and begs to be read.”
Politiken (DK)

“Extremely well written and bursting with classical knowledge.”
Kristeligt Dagblad (DK)

“In true Domestic-Noir fashion, it is the mystery of the disappeared female genius that makes Collected Works an addictive reading experience, and Sandgren’s ability to pick up (truly) every lead and weave them together into an elegant narrative is nothing short of true craftmanship.”
Weekendavisen (DK)

“Lydia Sandgren’s ambitious debut novel became a huge happening in Sweden. (…) Collected Works is a voluminous, humoristic novel with a serious undertone. Simply put, it is a wonderful book that is hard to put down once you start reading it. It was somewhat of an event when Lydia Sandgren debuted last year with a large scale novel of over 700 pages. For a debutant to write such an ambitious piece of work is rare; one could mention the anglo-palestinian Isabella Hammad’s 600-page historical genealogical novel The Parisian from 2019 as a comparison. It is even more impressive when the brick-heavy debut novel is both well written, humanly enthralling, captivating and funny.”
Information (DK)

Collected Works is remarkably well written.”
tidsskriftet-epsilon.dk (DK)

“Neat as in a perfectly composed pop song – catchy, bombastic, irresistable…What’s left to say, therefore, is just that we hope that it doesn’t take another ten years for Sandgren to write her next book.” Weekendavisen (DK)

“With her Collected Works, the author has cemented her love for literature – and we hope she does it again.”
Birgitte (DE)

“[The novel] is about friendship and love, art and literature, and about a woman and the family in which she leaves a gaping hole when she disappears. Monumental!”
Emotion (DE)

“The novel’s strength is its characters. Depicted with a great sense for detail.”
Die Presse am Sonntag (DE)

“The real protagonist in Lydia Sandgren’s 874-page debut – together with the other characters populating the story – is literature itself.”
Das Magasin (DE)

“Lydia Sandgren etches a sophisticated psychological portrait of Sweden from the very first until the last page.”
Das Magasin (DE)

“She creates a deep and impressive universe.”
Weltwoche (DE)

“[The book] is perfect when you want to immerse yourself completely in a story over a period of time, it is actually a bit like watching a Scandinavian series: Sandgren takes her time (but not too much time) to develop her characters and their arcs; it is all described very lifelike, without delving too far into explanation, the dialogue is good and it is accessible.”
Nacht und tag, Blog (DE)

“A grand artist- and growth novel with convincing characters that – despite its roughly 900 pages – never becomes dull; it persuades with its fascinating characters.”
Ruhr Nachrichten (DE)

“Sandgren is light, clairvoyant and exhibits her joy in writing. The way in which she presents Berg’s thoughts on a bond with a culture-loving writer anticipates his withdrawal stylistically. Her sarcasm when she distances herself from the characters and humors them in vivid imagery is delightful. There is talk about Karl Ove Knausgård’s autofiction, but Sandgren never looses herself in literary navel-gazing. She guides her characters through Gothenburg, Paris, Stockholm; shakes up the Swedish self-image since the death of Olof Palme and makes us experience Chernobyl again, describes restaurants and living spaces with enthusiasm for trendy detail. (…) You can learn a lot from her – that literature actually has no end.” Westfälischer Anzeiger (DE)

“What a strong debut!”
literaturleuchtet, Blog (DE)

“[The novel] addresses weighty subjects such as family, relationships, coming of age, love, art and life’s inevitable setbacks. But most of all it is about falling and standing back up again – something we are all familiar with. It is actually many small books in one large work.”
Ein Fest des Lesens. | Klappentexterin und Herr Klappentexter (DE)

“Lydia Sandgren has written an exceptional debut.”
Coffecakesandbooks, Blog (DE)

“No book by a Scandinavian author has been so received in the Netherlands since ’Max, Mischa & the Tet Offensive’ by Norwegian Johan Harstad became a bestseller in 2016.”
Bookstore Donner (NL)

”A brilliant book.”
Wouter Cajot of Bookstore Stad Leest, Antwerp (NL)

“A beautiful, intriguing story.”
Grietje Braaksma, Bookstore Broese, Book of the Week on NPO Radio 4 (NL)

“The build-up is full of cliffhangers, which gives the rich story a lot of momentum. Category page turner for autumn days.”
Book of the month November at Bookstore Scheltema (NL)

“This book grabs me, pulls me along, dances with me and shouts, ’Come a little further! Come on! Immerse yourself! Hold me all night!”
Bookstore Stevens (NL)

“This novel has everything a good book needs: suspense, mystery, history, art, relationships, friendship, betrayal and death. Because the story keeps zapping between different scenes, it never gets tired. At the same time, it is not too composed.”
Paard van Troje Bookshop (NL)

“It is not for nothing that it received the August Prize 2020, the most important Swedish literature prize. This book is almost a recipe for writer’s block: it is almost impossible to top it.”
Kramer & Van Doorn Bookstore (NL)

“An extraordinarily impressive debut. And what an ending.”
Voted Book of the Month in Mezza MAGAZINE (NL)

“Reading this novel has been a tremendous pleasure, and Lydia Sandgren has obviously enjoyed writing it. A great novel.”
Maarten Moll in Het Parool (NL)

“A whirlwind novel.”
De Morgen (NL)

Collected Works [is] one of those books where the characters seem to become your friends, one that blurs the environment so that you miss the tram or run into a pole while reading. I bet there will be debuts in twenty years with a wrapper that reads: ”The new Lydia Sandgren is born.”
HUMO (NL)

“…a page turner […] It is almost inevitable that this novel will be made into a film. Cecilia’s complex family situation, the male friendship marked by alcohol and the surprising denouement lend themselves well to a typical Scandinavian family drama.”
de Volkskrant (NL)

“In her debut novel, the Swedish author Lydia Sandgren creates a complex plot that obeys only the primary objective of contemplating art, of understanding the ins and outs of artistic creation and the way it connects with life. (…) A text that celebrates the very height of what fiction is.”
El País (ES)

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