First published: 1897
Page count: 240
Page count: 240
The back says: Nothing because I downloaded the Swedish version.
However, Wiki says: The narrator (ostensibly Strindberg, although his narrative variably coheres with and diverges from historical truth), spends most of the novel in Paris, isolated from his wife (Frida Uhl), children, and friends. He associates with a circle of Parisian artists and writers (including Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch), but often fears they are ridiculing and persecuting him. In his isolation, Strindberg successfully attempts alchemical experiments, and has his work published in prominent journals. He fears, however, that his secrets will be stolen, and his persecution mania worsens, believing that his enemies are attacking him with 'infernal machines.' He also dabbles in the occult, at one point casting a black magic spell on his own distanced daughter.
Throughout his studies and adventures, Strindberg believes himself guided by mysterious forces (attributing them sometimes to God, Fate, or vaguer origins). When returning to Austria to see his daughter, Strindberg is introduced to German mythology and the teachings of Swedenborg, which both influence his fatalistic beliefs and delusions. Through this newfound imagery, Strindberg sees his life as a living hell, hence the novel's title.
I say: I do not like Strindberg.
There is something about his dry language that puts me to sleep, and every now and then I keep forcing myself to read his works because I
am convinced there is one work I will love and adore for all time.
This was not it.
There is a lot in here that reminds me of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment; except where I find Dostoevsky charming, funny and insightful, I find Strindberg predictable and dull. It’s not just the character – who got on my very last nerve, mind you – but also the way the story is told in such a conceited way.
I could find no few redeeming qualities in him.
Now, bear in mind that
I hate intensely dislike Strindberg, the
person (as well as Strindberg the author even though I can separate the two),
and since this is basically a story about him, it was a painful read.
2/5 because there were a couple of nice quotes in there.