Reviews

In english.

A MAN OF WEALTH AND TASTE - ANDERS FAGER

It has been said before, but it bears mentioning again. The influence of H.P. Lovecraft on the horror genre is difficult to nail down, but it is without a doubt big. Without his stories, the genre would not be what it is today. Truth be told, though, knowing what we do today, Lovecraft was in most cases better at thinking up ideas than writing. Many of his stories are worth reading, and some of them are really good, but in many cases his language use is awkward. Other authors making use of Lovecraft’s mythos, like Stephen King, often does it better than Lovecraft himself. His fictional creations are made for being used and abused by others to scare their readers.

If there is one Swedish author that knows this, and has taken it to heart: Anders Fager. Right away, in his debut short story collection, Swedish Cults (2009), we were introduced to teenage girls worshipping the black goat. He has elaborated on this in his following works, constructing his own fictional world built on the original works of Lovecraft. Just like Stephen King, Fager is a better writer than Lovecraft, and in his hands Yog Sothoth becomes a more terrifying entity than was ever the case in Lovecraft’s stories.




A man of wealth and taste, is Fager’s latest novel set in his tentacle filled Stockholm and continues the story of his previous novel, I saw her today at the reception (2012). In it, we get to know CeO Mohlin, a librarian with the bad habit of stealing rare books and selling them to one shady character after another. Reality, or rather what is beyond reality, catches up with him when the books he is selling leads to him being dragged into a world of doomsday cultists and persons who are hundreds of years old. At the same time, signs of Cornelia, the main character of Fager’s previous book, are beginning to appear around the city. Signs pointing towards a coming horror. Making it even worse, CeO begins hearing the same whispering voice that Cornelia heard. A voice asking for help to become a part of the human world.

Fager continues to fill us with terror with his succinct and scaled down parlance. Having read his earlier works may not be absolutely necessary, but it is definitely a plus, as some references may go over your head. I myself am childishly fond of Fager’s kind of world building, where each work becomes a part of a bigger whole. It makes the connections and references to earlier stories feel relevant, and it helps the further development of the storyline.

If I saw her was an entrance to the doom Fager is taking us towards, A man of wealth and taste is the bridge between the beginning and the end. It is very much a buildup of something that never really reaches climax. Something that I assume is the purpose, as this is not meant to be the last book in Fager’s fictional world. Sometimes there is a little too much talk about the coming horrors, meaning Fager tends to fall into the same trap as Lovecraft himself, although this is handled a lot better here. Therefore, A man of wealth and taste falls slightly behind Fager’s earlier works and in the end it does not feel as accomplished and thought through. This opinion may change at a later date when I get to read what is still to come from Fager. As it stands, this is a well written, at times very scary (the first chapter is among the best Fager has ever written) horror story about cultists in Sweden. And that can never be a bad thing.

David Larsson; editor, FromBeyond
Stig Rudeholm;
translator.
Original in Swedish