The long overdue first UK publication of one of Sven Lindqvist's best-loved books - and the one for which he is most famous in his home country - an exquisitely written meditation on the author's relationship with art.
Sven Lindqvist was born in Stockholm in 1932. He has published essays, aphorisms, autobiography, documentary prose, travel and reportage, including: Bench Press, Desert Divers, Exterminate All the Brutes, A History of Bombing and Terra Nullius, all available from Granta Books. Lindqvist lives in Stockholm.
Turn to his depiction of the great Buddhist statues of Longmen and
you encounter some of the most graphic, original and sophisticated
descriptive writing on China. His visit to a Beijing bathhouse is a
small jewel of empathy. Just as you feel he is wandering too
convoluted a mystical labyrinth, he introduces a statement of cool
critical force... complex, shifting and endlessly self-reflexive -
Colin Thubron, The Times
Lindqvist has developed a literary form flexible enough for him to travel in time as much as space, combining the personal and the political, mingling historical investigation, travel and literary reportage and - increasingly - fierce polemic - Stuart Jeffries, Guardian
A writer of rare political engagement, [who], in order to convey the complexity and urgency of his beliefs, created a wholly new form of non-fiction. Philosophy, travel, memoir, essay, aphorism and polemic are all interwoven in his works - Stuart Kelly, Scotsman
This accessible mix of travel-writing and memoir takes Lindqvist from Sweden to China to pay homage to the Chinese artist who legend has it stepped into the very mural he had just painted and disappeared - Lesley McDowell, Sunday Herald
Necessary and transformative... Lindqvist is a master-conjurer, creating a world in which dreams and reality are intermingled and where the line between fantasy and fate is blurred. His prose is spare, flinty, but beautifully balanced and packed with detail... Once you've stepped into Lindqvist's world, things will never look the same again - Gavin Francis, author, Empire Antarctica
A lyrical, but hard-hitting, examination of the ways in which we use art as escapism - Arminta Wallace, Irish Times
It smoulders with fury at man's inhumanity... Flinty, direct and utterly original - Gavin Francis, Books of the Year, Scotland on Sunday