Published in 1993, ‘Blackwater’ (Swedish: Händelser vid vatten) is a novel by Swedish writer Kerstin Ekman that received the ‘August Prize’ in 1993, the ‘Nordic Council Literature Prize’ in 1994, and that also won the ‘Best Swedish Crime Novel Award’. Grown up in Katrineholm, Kerstin Ekman lives in Valsjöbyn (Jämtland) and made her literary debut in 1959 with a detective novel. Ekman was elected member of the ‘Swedish Academy’ in 1978, she has written a suite of four novels about Katrineholm based on selected women’s destinies. In addition to being interested in the circumstances of women, her novels often have a vein of natural mysticism and a fascination for people’s hidden powers. ‘Blackwater’ is a detective novel set in the town of Svartvattnet (Norrland): it depicts a woman from Stockholm, who moves in with her boyfriend to work as a teacher in a commune. However, events revolve around an unsolved double homicide and the consequences of this trauma for the people in town. Kerstin Ekman’s story can be read as a Bildungsroman, as a critical analysis of gender roles, as a mythical story with symbolic elements but also simply as a thrilling detective novel. According to the Adjudicating Committee ‘Blackwater’ is a modern alarm clock: tension is created around how humans break each other and nature down, in rough times of structural transformation. The healing powers become apparent when the good in the fathers replaces the excessive motherly love which locks the characters in a fateful tragedy. This is a book which constantly reveals new secret rooms, also in the reader.
Books, Literature, Nordic Noir, Sweden