The Hurricane Party
By Klas Östergren
Translated by Tiina Nunnally
Canongate £12.99, 314 pages
FT Bookshop price: £10.39
Cult Swedish writer Klas Östergen has written an often perplexing novel of two halves. The first offers a relatively straightforward slice of dystopian science fiction. In a northern European city ravaged by climate change and disease, middle-aged Hanck Orn makes a living repairing ancient typewriters, sold to technological refuseniks and radical young writers. Life is harsh. Beyond the city boundaries, anarchy rules.
But when Hanck sets out to find the killer of his teenage son, the book heads into quite different territory. Realism takes a back seat as the distraught father’s quest brings him face to face with the capricious Norse gods, finally leading him to the depths of the Underworld.
How much you enjoy this is likely to depend on your tolerance for some rather long-winded mythological passages. Stick with it, though, and what emerges is a pleasurably idiosyncratic fable about surviving grief.