STIG DAGERMAN (1923-1954), Swedish writer and journalist, broke onto the literary scene at twenty-two. He enjoyed phenomenal success publishing four very different novels, a unique travel book from Germany in 1946, short stories – one of which became an instant classic – as well as essays, poetry, and plays. He was a prolific commentator on current events through satirical verse. Then, suddenly, he fell silent. In 1954, Sweden was stunned to learn that Stig Dagerman, the epitome of his generation of writers, had been found dead in his car. Read more
Dagerman describes all of it with a ferocious lucidity that does not admit hyperbole or sentimentality. He is concerned to tell the truth, to show the world as it is because only then can a clear idea be formed of what ought to happen next.
—Aaron Thier, The New Republic
German Autumn is one of the best collections ever written about the aftermath of war.
–Henning Mankell for the US edition
Dagerman knows how to use silence, stillness, the half-said, the understated in order to dramatize states of deep raw feeling … Short days, cold air, the nervous glance, the glimpse, the night without sleep, are the bricks with which he builds his fictional houses filled with shadows and unresolved pain, but filled also with a stark tenderness, at times a grim humor, in the face of uneasiness and loss.
–Colm Tóibín, The New York Review of Books
Dagerman is excellent on how our motives can be
a mystery even to ourselves … this searing tale of
bereavement and loathing feels all too relevant today.
A startling novel of ferocious psychological acumen …. A book for our times.
—Siri Hustvedt, preface to Penguin UK edition
Dagerman wrote with beautiful objectivity. Instead of emotive phrases, he uses a choice of facts, like bricks, to construct an emotion. —Graham Greene, cover of U.S. edition of The Games of Night, 1961
… a friend of mine lent me the book and it just hit me
instantly. I believe there are moments when certain
things need to be heard and I felt Dagerman’s text,
which he wrote back in 1952, is just so topical now.
The way I read it, his text is an anthem to freedom.
–Christian Olivier, singer in Têtes Raides
Stellan Skarsgård in Our Need for Consolation
Wedding Worries is an incredible book …
the most Faulknerian book that I’ve read in years …
There’s so much to like here, so much giggling
and joy amid the pure run-down, dissolute,
messed-up set of characters and desires …
I urge you to stock it, buy it, read it, recommend it.
— Chad Post, Three Percent Blog
Dagerman’s novel is a cry for individual responsibility
and freedom, as well as a spirited work of resistance
to the conventions of bourgeois life, which restrain
and stupefy people. And it is a call for free thought
and speech to clarify what should be done.
–Siri Hustvedt, Living, Thinking, Looking
All of Dagerman’s oeuvre, his novels, poems and
political essays are in some way contained in this
stormy novel, in its whirl of sensations and images …
With humble gratitude to Stig Dagerman who, in
order to show us the way, let himself be consumed
by his own fire.
–JMG Le Clézio, Nobel laureate, preface to US edition
Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself translating Stig Dagerman’s magnificent “Birgitta Suite,” with its universal themes of love and loss and heartache. My knowledge of Swedish is quite limited, but with Stig Dagerman’s daughter guiding the way, I was able to draw on my poetic sensibilities to help bring the music of this capstone poem to an English-speaking audience.
An imagination that appeals to ‘an unreasonable degree of sympathy’ is precisely what makes Dagerman’s fiction so evocative. Evocative not, as one might expect, of despair, or bleakness, or existential angst, but of compassion, fellow-feeling, even love. — Alice McDermott, preface to SLEET