onsdag 15 juni 2016

Book review: In every moment are we still alive

Title: I varje ögonblick är vi fortfarande vid liv (In every moment are we still alive)
Author: Tom Malmquist
Genre: Drama, life
Year published: 2015
Pages: ~317
A place to buy it: If you are in Sweden you can buy the book (in Swedish) from Bokus.
Other: This book has not been translated into English, but I've translated the title and the book might get translated in the future.
Previous book review: The Sense of an Ending

Daughter born, wife died, father died

The name of the main character is Tom and in the beginning you really get thrown into the story. Tom's wife, Karin, is pregnant with their first child when she suddenly gets rushed to the hospital. The doctors decide to put her in a respirator to try and keep her and the baby alive. In order to keep both mother and child alive, the doctors make an emergency c-section and so Livia, Tom and Karin's daughter, is born. During all this time at the hospital Tom has stayed with Karin but after his daughter's birth he divide his time between the two of them. Karin is dying and treated at the intensive care, while Livia is growing and full of life.

Not long after Livia is born, Karin dies and Tom returns home with his newborn - and too early born - daughter. Both his parents and Karin's parents come to stay in his apartment to help him out. When Tom start to get a little used to being a parent his father dies after a long time of fighting cancer.

You also get little flashbacks to when Karin and Tom first met and their life together before she died.

A good start but then... not for me

Pretty much the only thing I like about this book is how the reader is thrown into the story in the beginning - it starts when Tom and Karin have just come to the emergency room - but then everything gets too slow. Of course I realize that Tom is grieving both the sudden death of his wife and later the expected death of his father, but I don't feel anything myself. The characters are too shallow and I don't care about them at all.

Throughout the entire book there isn't a single quotation or anything to mark when people are speaking, and sometimes that made me unable to understand who said what even if I reread it. It's basically just large blocks of text and sometimes I read an entire flashback without understanding anything at all because I didn't get that it was a flashback because it was just another block of text. It's also hard to read through these blocks, because they can stretch over several pages.

I also feel like Tom just have conflicts with everything and everyone. Sometimes it's a reasonable cause but sometimes I don't get why he's so rude. Sure, he's sad, but in the picture I get from his flashbacks is that he always has been bad tempered. Some parts even give the idea that Tom's temperament has became better over time. Because you only get to meet the grieving Tom, it's hard to distinguish how sad he actually is.


I don't like this book, I don't think it's well written in any way at all. Still, a lot of people seem to like it and find it "touching", but to me it's just too shallow. I just feel like the writer killed two characters and said: "They were close to the main character. Look how sad he is now!" It's a nice idea to a story, but a nice idea alone doesn't do it for me. I can not empathize with a character I don't care the slightest about, how sad the whole scenario might be.

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