Judging by this book, described by the publisher as the ‘Swedish bestseller about summer... and finding happiness in the little things’, he spends most of his time pursuing his scientific passions, meditating on the human condition and going for long walks.
Most of the results are splendid. But it’s difficult to know how to deal with phrases such as ‘all of us need to flee blindly from time to time so as not to become copies of the world’s expectations’, and I have no interest in the author’s mission ‘to say something about the art and sometimes the bliss of limitation.’
Fortunately, Sjöberg usually rises above such self-indulgence, writing crisp, beautiful prose and making a decent case for the fact that Sweden possesses ‘the world’s loveliest summer nights’. There are fascinating digressions into the life and deeds of the naturalist René Malaise, an avalanche of facts about the aforementioned hoverflies (at least 368 species in Sweden alone), and, best of all, a total disregard for the rules of commercial non-fiction writing.
The book wanders wherever it wants, the author clearly had a lot of fun, and if you’re a librarian, you’ll struggle to know where to shelve it. The reader can simply enjoy the ride.
THE FLY TRAP by Fredrik Sjöberg, Particular Books, £14.99