Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jag blir nervös när jag ska tala svenska

The Swedish are coming! Today marks the opening of the new IKEA store in Canton. Until now the nearest IKEAs were in Toronto, Pittsburgh or Chicago. Half the mid-west will beat a path to the intersection of Ford Road and Haggerty. The problem? This intersection, congested at the best of times, is where I turn to get to Elizabeth’s house. She is just half a mile from the store and although she is dreading the traffic situation, she got to go to a “sneak preview” on Saturday and is thrilled with the goods. I’ll have to check it out.

I wouldn’t have bothered to mention this event but for the coincidence of having just finished a Swedish detective story. For the past few years I have been a fan of Henning Mankell and his series of crime stories featuring Kurt Wallander. Now I have come across The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson. There is a murder, and we do find out who done it, but the author concentrates more on the effect of the crime on the dead man’s family and the relationships of the investigating officers, all set against the social structure of modern Sweden. An article on Eriksson listed the names of other similar writers and it looks like I may have plenty to keep me busy this summer.

Kurt Wallander is based in Ystad, but he travels around to exotic sounding towns (thank you, Henning Mankell for providing a map.) The action in The Princess of Burundi all takes place in Uppsala, where the streets and districts have equally delightful names. A suspect walks “up Bangårdsgatan to the bingo hall”, and the dead man’s brother follows a suspect “up Sysslomansgatan.”

But no-one goes to IKEA.

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