Tag Archives: literature

Currently reading

I’ve just opened up the covers of Thomas McGuane – Ninety-Two in the shade (1973).

A long time ago, at least it seems that way, I worked in a second hand record and book shop in Jönköping. It’s closed now but I am still in contact with the owner and my previous employer when I get home. This in turn leads to a thinning wallet, as he knows my vices. But then again we also share a similar taste in literature and he use to recommed this and that when we meet, this time he recommend and lent me this one – with the words as if Hemingway wrote a detective, noir or pulp novel and did it good. For your information it may be interesting to know that Hemingway is not one of my favourite authors. I find him a bit too chatty, descriptive and a bit to forced in an old fashioned masculine way, which probably is due to the fact that he was a man of his age and I am one of mine. Therefore it shall be interesting to see how I feel about this one.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Galway on my mind

These last few weeks I’ve been reading a lot since I’ve found a new favourite author; Ken Bruen, who by the way been very productive. It is nice when you find someone who speaks directly to you, who seems to know what you want to read but still manages to make every page an adventure.

Most of my favourite authors are long since dead and buried; I love the crime-noir authors like Cornell Woolrich and Raymond Chandler, the authors of the Beat generation, Ayn Rand and many others (many of whom are but obscure footnotes in literature). Ken Bruen combines much of the prementioned and he adds in his writings lots and lots of references to novels, short stories, authors, poets, songwriters and musicians. To this comes a unique voice and languish which is probably what intrigues me the most and that create a universe of its own. His stories are not light nor are they difficult; they are intelligent, warm, humorous and just a little blue but more than that they are human.

Of the books and authors mentioned in his books I’ve read some but most I’ve never heard of, though I am now interested in knowing more of. Some refrences are easier or at least quicker to find, among them Irish musician Johnny Duhan who has several songs on youtube. He is mentioned as a favourite to the fictional ex guardi (cop) Jack Taylor and do in some way describes at least part of the mode in Bruens books;

Johnny Duhan – Just another town

Why Galway on my mind? Check out Bruens books!

Magnus Reuterdahl

A curiosity

As I probably have mentioned on one occasion or the other I was born and raised in Jonkoping. Part of the heritage that I bring with me from childhood is the things that awoken my interest in past times; this includes periodicals, year books etc concerning Jonkoping and it’s history. This weekend was spent in Stockholm and as I rummaged through some preaviously unread or hastly skimmed through I found an interesting little article in Gudmunds Gillets (Gudmund’s Guild) aka Jonkopings local history association annual from 1989: 67-70.

The article I found was on Mark Twain’s three months visit to Jönköping in 1899.

On the 10th of July Mark Twain, his wife and his daughter Jane arrived in Jonkoping to visit Jonas Henrik Kellgren’s health institute (Institutet för Manuel Sjukbehandling) to get treatment for his rheumatism. The institute main building, called “Gula Sanna”, is ca 150 yrs old and still stands. Kellgren methods towards health was massage and brusque physiotherapy.

Gula Sanna
Gula Sanna

In a letter to his daughter he pictures a gloomy vision of his summer; it seems to have been a boring, dull and somewhat monotonous existence with Kellgrens patients, whom he calls “the damned”.

Thou gloomy he seems to have appreciated the sunsets, in an other letter he wrote; I’ve seen about sixty sunsets here and at least forty of  these surpasses every other I’ve seen. America, the tropics – they have no idea of what a sunset should be like…  *

Most of the time spent in Jonkoping seems to have been bound to the institute, though he made a trip to Visingsö with the ship “Per Brahe” that a few years later went down in a storm, bringing the demise to the Swedish painter John Bauer (one of my personal favorites).

Painting by John Bauer called Tuvstarr, this image is originally from Malmo museum.

While in Jonkoping Mark Twain wrote one novel “my boyhood dream” and one poem “To above old people”. So now I’ll have to look these up, if for nothing else a small distraction.

Magnus Reuterdahl

*) This is not an exact quote; I’ve seen a couple of  different version, sometimes with a few more countries and sometimes with a more metaphoric addition.

Jönköpings hembygdsförening Gudmundsgillet (link in Swedish)

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