Thursday, April 28, 2016

Swedish cli-fi novelist Jesper Weithz's novel ''What's not growing is dying'' is being translated into English now

Jesper Weithz.
''What's not growing is dying'' is the English title of his novel

An interview in with Swedish cli-fi novelist Jesper Weithz, author of ''Det som inte växer är döende''
''Det som inte växer är döende''
1. Have you heard of the cli fi term yet in Sweden? 
Indeed. I’ve read what you and others have written in English. Also I have written briefly about it i a swedish climate magazine called Effekt. (But it’s in Swedish,)

2. Is your novel ''Det som inte växer är döende,''  a cli fi novel or sci fi novel
I consider it a cli fi novel, rather than sci fi, although it’s placed in a near future.

3. Does media in Sweden talk about cli fi yet there?
 Apart from that nothing that I know of except for a special in a literature magazine called 10-tal. But I don’t remember if the cli fi-term where used there. And then there’s the article you found me through. And I know there will be a piece in autumn in a magazine called Vi Läser (We Read). I think it will be about why cli fi is big in Norway, but not in Sweden. (I have been interviewed for it, that's how I know.) There where also a short piece on public service television – on cli fi – when ”Det som inte växer är döende” was released and Effekt published an issue on Climate and Culture. But unfortunately it’s not online any more.

4. Tell me more about your novel.
It's being translated now for publication in English next fall.

The novel did fairly good in Sweden in 2012 when it was first published – and got some stunning reviews. Which, of course, was nice.

''Det som inte växer är döende''  -- (English translation of title: ''What's not growing is dying'') -- is a powerful and well-recieved novel in Sweden which was very well reviewed by literary critics and takes place in the near future.

A recent special report in a Swedish literature magazine called 10-tal  also has reported on cli-fi. In addition, in the fall of 2015 in a Swedish magazine called Vi Läser (''We Read'') there will be an article about why cli fi is big in Norway, but not so big yet in Sweden, comparatively speaking. It should be an important article, and we will be looking for it, too.  (Among those who have been interviewed for the ''Vi Laser'' article are several novelists and literary critics from both nations).
There where also a short piece about cli-fi on Sweden's public service television network – when Jesper Weithz' novel ”Det som inte växer är döende” was first released and Effekt published an issue on ''Climate and Culture.''


The cli-fi novel ”Det som inte växer är döende” did very well when it was released – and it got stunning reviews.

BLURB #1: "A well-paced, expertly told story: uncanny and haunting."

BLURB #2: "The novel uses climate change and imploding modernity as a backdrop for its story of a Swedish family falling apart, unable to keep together in the face of what they can't control. A couple, husband and wife, Henrik and Lotte, and their four-year-old daughter Molly."

BLURB #3: "This would make a very good screenplay and movie for a global audience, with international locations in Sweden, Britain and Brazil, either produced and shot by a Hollywood studio in a big-budget production or by a smaller indie operation from Sweden or the UK."

WHAT'S THE NOVEL ABOUT? ''Det som inte växer är döende'' could be said to be an existential cli-fi thriller set against the backdrop of modern life, and while it's a cli-fi novel to be sure, climate change, man-made global warming -- and their potential disasters -- hover the edge to the story but are never ''center stage'' or the main ''focus'' of the novel. It's a powerful family drama, written with Weithz's minimalist aesthetic and searing prose. It would make a very good translation for readers in the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and for anyone else who wants to read the book in English. In addition, translations into German, French, Italian, Norwegian, Finnish, Chinese and Japanese would also find an audience of cli fi genre readers in those countries -- Portuguese for Brazil, too, since part of the novel takes place in Sao Paolo. You could say that Weiths's novel would give readers in any country a sense that we in the modern world are standing on an ice flow and hearing the first crackling sounds of disintegration. It's that powerful of  a novel.

The novel starts off on the very first page with two quotes in English, one some lyrics from PINK FLOYD's song "The Thin Ice," and the other, lyrics from R.B. Morris' song titled EMPIRES.

The Pink Floyd song quote goes like this, with the actual quote in the book in red letters below:

Momma loves her baby
And Daddy loves you too
And the sea may look warm to you Babe
And the sky may look blue
Ooooh Babe
Ooooh Baby Blue
Ooooh Babe
''If you should go skating
On the thin ice of modern life
Dragging behind you the silent reproach
Of a million tear stained eyes
Don't be surprised, when a crack in the ice
Appears under your feet
You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
With your fear flowing out behind you
As you claw the thin ice
The R.B. Morris quote also in red text below, goes like this, from the song
''That's How Every Empire Falls''
© R. B. Morris
Caught a train from Alexandria
Just a broken man in flight
Running scared with his devils
Saying prayers all through the night
Oh but mercy can't find him
Not in the shadows where he calls
Forsaking all his better angels
That's how every empire falls

The bells ring out on Sunday mornng
Like echoes from another time
All our innocence and yearning
and sense of wonder left behind
Oh gentle hearts remember
What was that story? Is it lost?
For when religion loses vision
That's how every empire falls.

He toasts his wife and all his family
The providence he brought to bear
They raise their glasses in his honor
Although this union they don't share
A man who lives among them
Was still a stranger to them all
For when the heart is never open
That's how every empire falls

Padlock the door and board the windows
Put the people in the street
"It's just my job," he says "I'm sorry."
And draws a check, goes home to eat
But at night he tells his woman
"I know I hide behind the laws."
She says, "You're only taking orders."
That's how every empire falls.

''A bitter wind blows through the country
A hard rain falls on the sea
If terror comes without a warning
There must be something we don't see
What fire begets this fire?
Like torches thrown into the straw
If no one asks, then no one answers
That's how every empire falls.''

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