Book | Sweden
English title: The Husband. A Relationship Novel
Keyword(s): partner relationships | novels | Sweden
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Generations of Swedish readers have identified with the characters Martina and Gustav in Gun-Britt Sundström’s novel Maken (1976). Martina, who is also the story’s narrator, wants to be free and independent. Gustav, her fiancé, or “husband”, wants to get married and raise a family. Gustav is the one who loves the most, whereas Martina is repelled by the very thought of having been “chosen”. Their story develops into an ongoing discussion about how a relationship should work and about the responsibility both parts have for their life choices. With Martina refusing to conform to prescribed female conduct, the story turns out as a critical scrutiny of ingrained opinions. Rather than describing love as overwhelming passion, Maken provides both ethical and philosophical reflections on partner relationships, dealing with different truths, as a modern variation of the attitudes of life examined by Søren Kierkegaard in Enten–Eller (Either/Or, 1843). / Summary by Åsa Arping