Into the Labyrinth by Sigge Eklund, Book Review: A chilling thriller
Sigge Eklund’s Into the Labyrinth translated from the original Swedish by Katarina Tucker.
Into the Labyrinth Synopsis
An eleven-year-old girl, Magda, has disappeared. Her mother Åsa works every clue, obsessively trying to solve the mystery. Is she concerned, or coldly delusional?
Fingers have been pointed at Magda’s father Martin, a well-known publisher. Is he responsible, or has he simply been neglectful in the face of his own obsessions?
Also involved are Martin’s ambitious colleague, Tom, and his partner Katja, a rejected writer.
Through these four voices the reader gains insight into dark obsessions, powerful secrets, and the labyrinthine nature of language itself. Each character’s actions has an effect on the others’, in incredibly surprising ways. This is a powerful psychological thriller that will get under your skin and haunt you well beyond its final, shocking conclusion.
Genre: Drama, Crime-Detective, Mystery, Thriller, Translation
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Although this is the first of Sigge Eklund’s novels to be translated into English, it is clear from the outset it was penned by someone who has honed their storytelling talents over time.
Into the Labyrinth‘s prose exhibits an uncommon level of clarity and precision in its description. This enhances the chilling effect of the character’s psychology Eklund reveals through his multi first-person narrative. It also gives the reader confidence that whatever shocking secrets lie ahead, the journey is one well worth taking.
… he could not open his mouth, or even write, without feeling like he was lying ‘like everybody else’.
Language is like a ‘labyrinth’, he said; the more he wrote the deeper he went inside the labyrinth.
Some aspects of this novel, in particular the characters’ musings on the psyche of those feeling compelled to write, add depth and a literary sensibility. That this was a translated work was at no point obvious to me – a notable achievement by Katarina Tucker. And credit to Echo Publishing for the intensity cultivated by their cover design.
If you, like I, are enthralled by unreliable narrators, Into the Labyrinth is a novel for you. Eklund skilfully takes readers into the darkest corners of his characters’ (and their own) psyches, delivering body blows when least expected along the way. And my response to the ending… an involuntary intake of breath.
Sigge Eklund’s Into the Labyrinth is sophisticated without seeming so — a deeply unsettling and compelling psychological thriller, that leaves much for readers to ponder about their own lives.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5 ; Overall 4.25
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About the Author, Sigge Eklund
Sigge Eklund is one of Sweden’s best-known writers and podcasters. He has previously worked as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, but now lives in Stockholm with his wife and three children. His previous novels, which have in common the theme of loss, have been both commercial and critical successes in his native Sweden. Into the Labyrinth is the first of Sigge’s novels to be translated into English.
Sigge Eklund on Twitter and Instagram.
Katarina Tucker was born in the United States and raised bilingually with English and Swedish. She holds a doctorate in Scandinavian literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 2003 she won the American– Scandinavian Foundation’s Translation Prize for her translation of Sven Delblanc’s Jerusalem’s Night. Her previous translations include Monika Fagerholm’s The American Girl and The Glitter Scene as well as Maria Sveland’s Bitter Bitch.
* My receiving a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.