Fishing in Utopia, by Andrew Brown

Fishing in utopia I just visited Amazon, as, I have to admit, I often do. On the first page where they show you all these books you might want to read (where there are usually quite a few I find hard to resist), I spotted one which seemed at first glance to be an outlier. (By which I mean being offered a gardening book because you recently bought Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook.) The book concerned is called Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future that Disappeared, by Andrew Brown, published by Granta in May of this year. Here's the blurb:

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Sweden was an affluent, egalitarian country envied around the world. Refugees were welcomed, even misfit young Englishmen could find a place there. Andrew Brown spent part of his childhood in Sweden during the 1960s. In the 1970s he married a Swedish woman and worked in a timber mill raising their small son. Fishing became his passion and his escape. In the mid-1980s his marriage and the country fell apart. The Prime Minister was assassinated. The welfare system crumbled along with the industries that had supported it. Twenty years later Andrew Brown travelled the length of Sweden in search of the country he had loved, and then hated, and now found he loved again.

I'm rather tempted by this, especially as it is only £6.99. It sounds as if it is an interesting link between where Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo leave us in the late 1970s, and the present day. Sjowall and Wahloo's 10-book series, an excellent set of detective novels, presents a strongly opinionated view of the social developments in Sweden over roughly 20 years, from the beginning of the 1960s to the end of the 1970s. As I've now only one book of the series left to read, Andrew Brown's opus might be a fascinating coda.

I am confirmed in my optimism by the leading Amazon review for the book, which is by Simon Clarke (no relation!), a regular commenter at this and other crime-fiction blogs. Simon (whose Amazon reviews are always a very helpful guide, I find) gives the book 5 stars and calls it a "wonderfully written, fascinating read".