Don’t Feed the Trolls

STALLO Book Cover STALLO
Stefan Spjut, translated by Susan Beard
Faber/Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99
July 2015

Imagine, if you will, a scene: a crowd of sports fans shocked into silence. A bobsled overturned oh-so-close to the end of the track. Four plucky Jamaicans crawl unharmed out of their upended bobsled, their hopes and dreams for Olympic glory shattered. But what’s this? They’re picking up the bobsled. I don’t believe it! They’re picking it up and now they are carrying it. These crazy guys are going to get to that damn finish line by hook or by crook. It’s time people. Can you feel it? The air is buzzing with it. It’s perfect. Someone in the crowd feels it and they’ve started it—the slow clap. It builds, slowly of course, as more and more people join in. It soon becomes a joyous crescendo and the crowd goes wild, spurring on our heroes to reach their poignant but ultimately pointless goal.

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Granny Against the World

MyGrandmotherSends_smMY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES
Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch
Sceptre, June 2015, RRP $29.99

It can be hard to be different in a world where conformity is the nature of the game. Society has rules, and those rules must be followed. A little bit different might be cute, but a lot different can be dangerous, and “dangerous” people often find themselves kicked and punched and ridiculed as others try to force them into a hole that has no space for them.

That’s why those of us who are different need a granny like Elsa’s granny. Continue reading

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