The Black Book
The Black BookTales on Death and TransformationMagnus Västerbro
The long-awaited first work of fiction by award-winning author and journalist, Magnus Västerbro.
Step into the strange and dark world of Magnus Västerbro, who in his new book has written 18 tales about death and transformation. As an historian, Västerbro has long been fascinated by the multitude of social and cultural notions humans have had of death and the afterlife throughout history. This book is the fictional culmination of his extensive research on the subject.
Inspired by sources and references as diverse as the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ovid’s Metamorphosis and eye-witness accounts of the Jonestown massacre, the cast of characters include a loving couple stepping into an strange existence as undead, a father missing his vampire daughter, and the last soul remaining after a collective suicide with religious motifs.
In a form inspired by writers like Lydia Davis and Jorge Luis Borges, Västerbro blends fragments of historical events with themes of horror classics like HP Lovecraft or Ray Bradbury, doing for the horror genre what Daniel Kehlman did for the historical novel. Ancient witches, medieval vampires and wicked spirits from across the ages intermingle with stories of hell on —and beyond—Earth.
Pre-existing readers of Västerbro will recognize the morbid subjects and sombre tone from his lauded non-fiction works Svälten [‘The Famine’], Pestens år (The Year of the Plague) and Tyrannens tid [The Time of the Tyrant]. Now, for the first time, Västerbro is given artistic freedom to pull out all the stops as nightmares, macabre daydreams and fantasies are filtered through the lens of history, creating a kaleidoscopic whole bound together by themes of death and transformation.
THE BLACK BOOK is both genre-bending and articulate, proving once and for all that history in fact is stranger than fiction.