Saga has been raised by her radical feminist mother to be a thick-skinned free thinker. But figuring things out at sixteen certainly isn’t a piece of cake.
As Saga takes her first steps up the stairs to her new high school, in her carefully planned outfit, a new world opens up for her. Pauline – skinny, suave, and street-smart – is by her side from day one. United in their blasé attitude to schoolwork and peers, their days are filled with coffee and cigarettes and their nights with parties featuring all the right people.
When Saga lays eyes on Victor Schantz, the most sought-after party planner and hip guy about town, her life changes. Victor gradually becomes the object of her affection, and she is tugged down into an abyss of obsession.
Saga and Victor gradually begin a relationship, but in no way on equal terms. Her mother’s warning to never become economically dependent on a man echoes loud and clear, but she never said anything about being reliant on a man without getting something in return. Saga finds herself in a sexual power play where who has the actual power is increasingly unclear. But as Saga slowly conquers the city and grows into her own skin, a shift in power occurs that leaves Victor yearning.
Set in the seething club life of 1990’s Stockholm, The Beginning is coming-of-age story that beautifully describes the transition from youth to adulthood. Insecurity, independence, friendship, demands and expectations facing a modern young woman are wrestled with in a judgment free and lyrical prose in this generation-defining novel from one of Sweden’s sharpest writers.
“With The Beginning in your hands, there is nothing to do as a reader but rejoice. […] The Beginning is an incredibly refreshing dive into a woman’s psyche and her way to maturity and self-awareness, told in such a disarming, carefree way you want nothing more than to reread it right away.”
Nerikes Allehanda (SE)
“Ramqvist’s language is stylistically perfect.”
“This makes for extremely smart and thrilling literature.”
Femina, 5 stars (SE)
Yukiko Duke, Gomorron Sverige, SVT (SE)
“Read this because it’s so good and is begging to be devoured from cover to cover.”
“As a document of the era and a generational novel, it’s completely outstanding.”
Helsingsborgs Dagblad (SE)
“I close Karolina Ramqvist’s The Beginning and think: Hallelujah, my generation’s novel is here.”
“Not a single word in excess.”