Swedish / Sweden
(Foreigner attenuation process.
Bečević, Zulmir (text)
Stockholm: Alfabeta, 2014. – 207 p.
Racism – Nationalism – Cultural identity – Dystopia – Satire – Dystopian novel
In reading this novel, one’s laughter often catches in the throat. This book is a dystopian satire, to be sure, but its contemporary socio-political relevance is obvious: “The Party”, victorious in Sweden, wants to liberate the country from all that is “Un-Swedish”. At first it acts subtly, then in ever more reactionary and racist ways. Segregation belongs to the party platform as much as the “Avblattefieringsprocess”. Immigrants, including second and third generation immigrants such as fifteen-year-old Alen, are to be made into “real Swedes” by taking classes in Swedish and learning “mores and customs”. Alen speaks Swedish fluently and also behaves like a “real Swede” , but this is beside the point. But what “being a real Swede” means is not really clear even to the “genuine Swedes”. This reveals the absurdity of the “Swedization” project and shows the constructed nature of “national identity” – a concept that nonetheless has powerful, real-world consequences. (Age: 12+)