Jun 5, 2018
"Jonas Hassen Khemiri is one of the most important writers of his generation in Sweden. When his debut novel, One Eye Red (Ett öga rött) was published in 2003, Khemiri’s eccentric and imaginative prose made a huge splash and reached an audience far beyond traditional literary circles. The book was awarded the Borås Tidning Award for Best Literary Debut Novel and also became an enormous bestseller.
Khemiri’s equally original second novel, Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger (Montecore – en unik tiger), was awarded the prestigious P.O. Enquist Literary Prize, and won Swedish Radio’s Award for Best Novel. Upon its US publication by Alfred A Knopf, The New York Times Book Review dubbed the novel “wondrous.”
His latest best-selling novel Everything I Don’t Remember (Allt jag inte minns), was published in the fall of 2015 and translated from Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles the following year.
I met Jonas in Montreal at the Blue Met Literary Festival. We talk here about the latest novel, self-publishing, writing first novels, the comedy and tragedy scale, ambivalence, George Saunders, tenderness that doesn't fall into cliche, filtering favourite authors, voices, plays, truth, perspective, Nietzsche, disappearing, Stockholm, Nordic Noir, American accents, love and cliche, writing poorly really well, Karl Ove Knausgård, Proust, sleepwalking, memory, speed, language as power, writing, and uncertainty.