Hildur is about to marry the village butcher, a man twice her age and a buffoon. Set in rural Sweden, Dagerman uses Hildur’s rite of passage to explore human loneliness, longing, love and deliverance. The novel, narrated through a multitude of characters, begins on the morning of the wedding day with a mysterious knocking on the bride’s window, and ends 24 hours later following a bacchanalian feast of unexpected drama. Among the many vivid characters: Hildur's mother Hilma, filled with hard-won womanly wisdom; her father, a recluse who refuses to leave his second floor hide-away; Irma, her embittered sister with a bastard son; and three enigmatic tramps housed in the barn. The shifting perspectives offer a richly textured tale that ranges in mood from poetic tenderness to folksy hilarity to transcendent wisdom.
J.M.G. Le Clézio, Nobel Laureate in Literature: “As I slowly read Wedding Worries, I rediscover what fascinated me in Dagerman... The same fascination I sensed when I first read [James Joyce’s] Ulysses, [William Faulkner’s] Light in August...when I felt a towering wave wash over me, carrying all the force that had unleashed it on the other side of the horizon.... The wedding party is a celebration of life, making us forget for a time our fear, despair and loneliness.”
Stig Dagerman (1923-1954) was the literary wunderkind of his generation in Sweden. Surpassed in Swedish literature perhaps only by August Strindberg in terms of his work’s compressed intensity, Dagerman’s remarkable literary output came to an abrupt end when he committed suicide at the age of 31.
Lo Dagerman, narrator, is the daughter of Stig Dagerman and actress Anita Björk.
Cover Art: "Går i sömnen" (Sleepwalking) 1986 © Karin Mamma Andersson / Bildupphovsrätt 2019