In 1905 Hjalmar Soderberg’s Dr Glas was published—a fictionalised journal of the murder of an obese clergyman in late 19th-century Stockholm by the eponymous diarist. The novel was both highly regarded and a notorious work of literature. Bengt Ohlsson’s book narrates the story from the perspective of the unfortunate Pastor Gregorius, his overly uxorious relationship with his young and pretty wife Helga, her adultery and their subsequent marital problems. It is a wonderful work of art, providing a new and more sympathetic examination of Gregorius, his life and motives, as well as examining some of the essential truths and complexities underlying human relationships.
The historical context is authentic, with the first person narrative voice of Gregorius placing the reader firmly in late 1800s Sweden. To fully appreciate and understand the novel, however, the reader should ideally read Dr Glas first (which is available new or used) otherwise a significant element of this excellent novel will not be fully appreciated.