Oh Sweden! Oh Israel! | Granta

  • Published: 07/03/2013
  • ISBN: 9781846274152
  • 148x20mm
  • 140 pages

Oh Sweden! Oh Israel!

Stephan Mendel-Enk

Translated by Michael Lundin

Around the time of Jacob’s bar mitzvah, his mother leaves his father for another man, and he is not even Jewish. It’s 1987, the First Intifada is about to break out, and the Jewish community in Gothenburg, many of them descendants of Holocaust survivors, is under a certain amount of strain. Jacob relates his family’s break-up in the context of a fragmented diaspora community orientated towards Israel and America with humour and affection. Mendel-Enk’s debut novel is a portrait of a Swedish Jewish community, filled with comedy, tragedy and zest for life.

Touching [and] beautifully observed

Jane Horsham, Guardian

The lives and sorrows of post-Holocaust Jewish community in Sweden are revealed with tender clarity and dark, wry humour

Tina Jackson, Metro

As Jacob confronts the harsh realities of adult life, his witty observations capture how people react when their worlds fall in... An irreverent portrayal of a small and modernising society

Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times

The Author

Stephan Mendel-Enk was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden. He has written for the soccer journal Offside, contributed to Sweden’s largest daily Dagens Nyheter and worked for National Swedish Radio. In 2004, he published With an Obvious Sense of Style, a highly-praised book about masculinity and violence. Oh Sweden! Oh Israel! is his first novel.

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Stephan Mendel-Enk on Granta.com

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Stephan Mendel-Enk

‘Frustrated reporters have described him whistling rather than answering their questions and giving most of the credit for the books to someone named Oscar. The only thing that seems certain about him is that he’ll continue to write.’