Hunting Stories

Swedish title: Jakthistorier

Category: Fiction / General Fiction

Pub date: 12-04-2013

Hunting Stories

Liselott Willén

Erik Sorsa is a highly successful headhunter. He travels 300 days per year on business, has a small number of friends and only temporary lovers. Erik’s talent for recruitment is explained by the fact that he verges on the psychopathic, which makes him clever at identifying dark or negative traits in the people he interviews. After yet one more emotionally cold night with a woman, he realises that his life is meaningless. He decides to slow things down, and goes back to Mariehamn on Åland where he grew up. At a party he notices a beautiful woman in a black dress. Something about the woman’s eyes dominates Erik’s thoughts from here on. He becomes obsessed and decides he must seduce her at any cost. At the same time he is offered the job of recruiting the new chief curator of Mariehamn’s Art Museum, a far too simple task for him. At first he declines, but when he learns that one of the applicants for the job is married to Silke – the woman in the black dress – he accepts the assignment. By insisting that one’s marriage is very much like one’s relationships in the workplace, Erik tricks the applicant into revealing intimate details of his life with Silke. Erik, who has always had control and the ability to unmask people and their weaknesses, is caught up in a drama where love might be defined as having control over someone else. Everything points to Erik having met a superior opponent in Silke… At the same time a journalist is chasing Erik’s own story and the reasons for his absence from Åland for more than twenty years. Did it have anything to do with the tragic death of his parents? At regular intervals, the reader is invited into a series of short and eerie stories from Erik’s childhood, when he used to go hunting in the summers with his father and mother: Hunting Stories. Hunting Stories explores what can lie beneath the surface of a perfect appearance and regular features. Liselott Willén is a master at depicting the less attractive aspects of human behaviour. In this hair-raising psychological drama she almost makes the reader pity the empathy-free, psychopathic figure of Erik Sorsa.

Liselott Willén most recently published Ingenstans under himlen (2011). [Nowhere Under the Sky]