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The White City
     

The White City

5.0 1
by Karolina Ramqvist, Saskia Vogel (Translator)
 

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A celebrated bestseller in Sweden, and the winner of the prestigious Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize, The White City is an arresting story of betrayal and empowerment as a criminal’s girlfriend is left behind to pick up the pieces of her imploded existence.

Karin knew what she was getting herself into when she fell for John, a high-flying

Overview


A celebrated bestseller in Sweden, and the winner of the prestigious Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize, The White City is an arresting story of betrayal and empowerment as a criminal’s girlfriend is left behind to pick up the pieces of her imploded existence.

Karin knew what she was getting herself into when she fell for John, a high-flying wheeler-dealer. But she never imagined things would turn out like this: John is gone and the coke-filled parties, seemingly endless flow of money, and high social status have been replaced by cut telephone lines, cut heat, and cut cash. All that remains of Karin’s former life is the mansion he bought for her—and his daughter, the child Karin once swore she would never bring into their dangerous world.

Now she is on her own with baby Dream. As the authorities zero in on organized crime, John’s shady legacy is catching up with her. Over the course of a few days, Karin is forced to take drastic measures to claim what she considers rightfully hers so that she can start over.

With slow-burning psychological intrigue and a seductive atmosphere, The White City is an intimate portrayal of one woman’s struggle to pull herself up from the paralyzing depths of despair and an unflinching examination of what it means to lose control—over your body and your life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/06/2017
In Ramqvist's exciting English-language debut, Karin spends the winter inside her mansion, taking naps and breast-feeding her infant daughter, Dream, a child she never wanted. Her criminal lover, John, left the two of them when the authorities began tracking him, and now Karin has to deal with his actions. She manages to get by until the Swedish Economic Crime Authority pays her a visit to inform her that all of her assets will be seized in nine days in order to cover John's tax debt. Karin finds herself with nowhere to turn. She and Dream go to visit her former friends to ask for help but get turned down. This short novel, full of suspense and beautifully written dreamlike sequences, places readers directly in Karin's situation and allows them to feel her isolation and desperation. Though Ramqvist withholds a great deal of information, especially regarding John, Karin's emotional journey will have a lasting impact on readers. Agent: Astri von Arbin Ahlander, Ahlander Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

“A literary tour de force . . . Ramqvist knows how the heart works. And although her book is short . . . it displays an abundance of lyrical writing.” —Mystery Scene Magazine

“Ramqvist crafts a story of sparse detail that moves at a rapid pace . . . This page-turner shows one young woman’s struggle to face harsh realities.” —Susanne Wells, Library Journal

The White City is rich in language and ambience. Moody, mysterious, maternal and magnetic . . . it is a haunting novel of a woman adrift yet firmly attached to romantic memories of her lover and the simple needs of her daughter . . . Ramqvist is a serious contender for the Swedish literary limelight.” —Shelf Awareness

“The ghostly Scandinavian setting and [protagonist] Karin’s closely narrated sense of impending doom, baby cooing patiently at her hip, make Swedish star Ramqvist’s English-language debut an atmospheric and suspenseful read.” —Booklist

“Though the plot of Ramqvist’s English debut may make it sound like a crime thriller, the pace is lulling, the writing sensuous and patiently observed . . . the book feels, more than any thriller, like an allegory of parenting . . . Delicate and unsparing.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Full of suspense and beautifully written dreamlike sequences . . . [The White City] will have a lasting impact on readers.” —Publishers Weekly

The White City is the first novel I have read that follows the adventures of a dyad, a character with two bodies not one, a mother, Karin, and her nursing, still speechless infant, Dream. Ramqvist’s acute rendering of embodied sensual experience combined with her evocation of her double character’s increasingly desperate circumstances create a story of high tension, startling insights, and lasting resonance.” —Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World

“A stirring portrait of human melancholy that fills a Swedish winter with fear, grace, and urgency.” —Rebecca Dinerstein, author of The Sunlit Night

“Karolina Ramqvist writes with frosty precision the kind of literature that is unforgettable. Her portraits of women hit deep into bone and marrow.” —Dorthe Nors, author of So Much for That Winter and Karate Chop

Library Journal
02/15/2017
Choosing a fast, dangerous life often leads to a quick, deadly fall. Young and vulnerable Karin becomes enmeshed in a small sector of organized crime. She finds a sense of self within this stealthy crowd, loving the parties, the drugs, and the money. She enjoys a spacious home and is helplessly in love with John, a key player in the criminal ring. Suddenly, however, the fun comes to an end, the cash is gone, and she has to fend for herself. That is, for herself and her very young baby, Dream. Nearly homeless during the icy Nordic winter, Karin is all but abandoned by her former friends and becomes desperate. Will she be able to recover from this crash and provide for her child? In her first English translation, award-winning Swedish author Ramqvist crafts a story of sparse detail that moves at a rapid pace. VERDICT With a character whose fear and anguish are palpable, this page-turner shows one young woman's struggle to face harsh realities once the smoke clears. [See Prepub Alert, 8/8/16.]—Susanne Wells, Indianapolis P.L.
Kirkus Reviews
2016-11-06
A new mother turns to old acquaintances for help when her future is under threat.Karin's boyfriend, John, is dead. He's left Karin with a big, beautiful house on the lakeside, an infant daughter named Dream—and the Swedish Economic Crime Authority on her trail. John's criminal career had previously ensured Karin's comfort, but now that he's gone, she has little left but loose change. In the middle of a frigid Scandinavian winter, after she gets word from the authority that her house and car will be seized within days, Karin—accompanied by Dream—reaches out to some of John's old associates in the hope that there might be a way, legal or not, to ensure her financial stability. But Karin quickly realizes that the people she thought of as her closest friends are no longer keen to help. Though the plot of Ramqvist's English debut may make it sound like a crime thriller, the pace is lulling, the writing sensuous and patiently observed. So much of the book, in fact, consists of long scenes of Karin nursing Dream or spending hours watching the infant play that the book feels, more than any thriller, like an allegory of parenting. Karin's life as a new mother is as gray and unchanging as the winter sky. When she tries to return to her old life, even temporarily, she feels alien and vulnerable. Ramqvist repeatedly shows Karin struggling with the physical weight of her daughter, trying to push a stroller through snow, or teetering off balance with a heavy car seat on her arm. And as Karin, quite literally, works to keep Dream alive against a backdrop of violence and deception, readers root for both characters to find their way. Delicate and unsparing.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802125958
Publisher:
Grove Atlantic
Publication date:
02/07/2017
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
571,625
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Karolina Ramqvist is one of the most influential feminists and writers of her generation in Sweden. She has published several novels, short stories, essays, and criticism in leading political and literary publications, and she is the former editor-in-chief of Arena magazine. She lives in Stockholm with her husband and children. The White City is her English debut.

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The White City 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Karolina Ramqvist, translator Saskia Vogel and Grove Atlantic, Grove Press, Black Cat in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me. This is an excellent short novel, a fast read and a plot that won't let you loose. There is no way you can call it anything but dark, but it is dark that works very well. I will watch for this author in future.