Collected WorksLydia Sandgren
Martin Berg is tumbling into a life crisis. He is the owner of a small ailing Gothenburg based publishing house. Several years ago, Martin’s wife, Cecilia Berg, disappeared from his and their children’s lives, leaving a huge void. Now, in middle-age, looking back on his life he can only see the sliding doors; what could have been. Reflecting over his life and choices made, he dives deep into memories of 1970’s and 80’s Sweden and wonders what would make up his collected works over his life: his close friendship with the unique and immensely more remarkable artist Gustav Becker, his passionate love for his now-missing wife, his two children and not in the least, the half-finished manuscript that seems to mock him and his youthful dreams.
Simultaneously we follow Rakel, Martin’s 20-something daughter, who is feeling out of place and restless in a Gothenburg that seems to itch like an ill-fitting jumper. The city is preparing for a retrospective of celebrated painter and family friend Gustav Becker’s work, and wherever she turns she looks into her mysteriously disappeared mother’s eyes plastered on billboards everywhere – the enigmatic Cecilia, the muse of the brilliant artist. In her absence, Rakel reads her mother’s published works, the content of the few notebooks and ask old friends, over and over again, trying to find clues on how to find her mother. When Rakel finds a possible clue to her mother’s fate in a manuscript she’s reading for her father who is considering it for publication, her world tilts on its axis.
COLLECTED WORKS is a literary sensation, written with a rare confidence by debut author Lydia Sandgren; a story about enduring love, the constant presence of the absent, friendships that last a lifetime and art in the borderland of truth and fiction. With as much precision and power in the depictions of the contemporary as in the retrospective, COLLECTED WORKS is a generational family saga from a new star of Swedish literary fiction.