The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller
Longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s 2021 First Novel Prize
‘Picaresque, gentle and slyly humorous; the glacial beauty of the northern landscape is the backdrop to arresting horrors, concealed passions, and a lifetime of kindnesses – all superbly rendered by Miller: a joy to read’ Oisin Fagan, author of Nobber.
In 1916, Sven Ormson leaves Stockholm to seek adventure in Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago where darkness reigns four months of the year, and where he might witness the splendour of the Northern Lights one night or be attacked by a polar bear the next. After a devastating accident while digging for coal, Sven heads north again and ends up on an uninhabited fjord living in a hut he builds, alone except for the company of a loyal dog, testing himself against the elements. Years into his routine isolation, the arrival of an unlikely visitor sparks a chain of events that brings Sven into a family of fellow outsiders and determines the course of the rest of his life.
Inspired by a real person and written with wry humour, in prose as beautiful as the stark landscape it evokes, The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven is a testament to the strength of human bonds, reminding us that even in the most inhospitable conditions, we are not beyond the reach of love.