Bench Press | Granta

  • Published: 23/01/2003
  • ISBN: 9781862075726
  • 136x20mm
  • 176 pages

Bench Press

Sven Lindqvist

Translated by Sarah Death

In the late 1980s, Sven Lindqvist fell into conversation with an evangelical bodybuilder while relaxing in the sauna after his weekly swim. The conversation challenged Lindqvist’s view of the sport as macho and vain and individualistic and led to his first attendance at the local gym. In Bench Press, Lindqvist takes us through his own journey in the gym, but also tells us the entertaining and bizarre history of bodybuilding and meditates on what its increased popularity tells us about contemporary society.

A book which paints a whole life from an entirely unexpected angle, and paints it beautifully, cleverly, true

The Scotsman

A concise, modern and thought-provoking vignette of one man and his physicality

Big Issue

The Author

Sven Lindqvist (1932-2019) was born in Stockholm, and travelled extensively through Asia, Africa and Latin America. He was the author of thirty books, including A History of Bombing, Desert Divers, which was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and Exterminate All the Brutes, which formed the basis of a major HBO four-part documentary series by Academy Award-nominated writer and director Raoul Peck.

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The Translator

Sarah Death has translated Swedish literature of many periods and genres, including works by Lena Andersson, Kerstin Ekman, Selma Lagerlöf, Astrid Lindgren, Sven Lindqvist, Göran Rosenberg and Steve Sem-Sandberg. Her most recent translation was Letters from Tove, the correspondence of Finland-Swedish author and artist Tove Jansson. She has twice won the George Bernard Shaw Prize for translation from Swedish, and in 2014 received the Royal Order of the Polar Star for services to Swedish literature. In autumn 2019, she was partnered with young writer Channa Riedel to participate in the Jewish Book Week/Beit Venezia Writers in Translation Project.

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From the Same Author

Sven Lindqvist on

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

To Zinder

Sven Lindqvist

Obsessed with a single line from Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness – Kurtz’s injunction to ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ – Sven Lindqvist set out across Central Africa, and wrote a book that revealed precisely what Europe’s imperial powers had exacted on Africa’s people over the course of the preceding two centuries.