Book Review | Laura Gustafsson wrote a riotous novel that raises a deadly question: Are we ready to give up comforts so that our children have a future?

Laura Gustafsson’s Fifth Novel is a bursting novel about our unsustainable lifestyle.

Novel

Laura Gustafsson: Rehab. Zeal. 272 s.

Laura Gustafsson writes in his fifth novel the fleeting distinction between goods and rubbish and between living and dead material. In reading a writer who likes fantasy hyperbolica, the end result is reminiscent of an organizing guru Marie Kondon LSD trip.

Rehab as the name refers to rehabilitation. The novel attempts to alienate itself from the consumer society and its commodity addictions. The protagonist of the work, Santa Maria, gets enough of her luxurious goods and their endless spiral of maintenance. She cuts off her hair and sets it on fire. The fire spread to his house as intended. Accidentally, it also spreads to the neighborhood. A number of residents are left homeless and on property.

Santa Maria, who by the way was also an explorer Kristoffer Columbus the name of the flagship, leads the neighborhood toward the Heavenly House, the tower house of the asphalt suburb, a new worthless utopia.

Narrators there are three. Santa Maria writes logbooks whose order breaks down into chronological, as time for people detached from capitalism loses its meaning. In addition to Santa Maria, the events are described by her daughter Columbus as well as the Taivastalo cleaner, who gives sanitation reports.

Dirt is a central motif in the work. Underground logistics hidden in the feces, sewer networks and stinking water treatment plants are highlighted. The battle between the clean sea and human waste is a key background story: “Before the old sea, there was endless and human shit insignificantly. It’s the other way around now. ”

Eventually, the sewers with their feces flooded and the vengeful sea flooded the streets, drowning everything. At this point at the latest, the plot of the work also becomes foggy. Old Testament characters slip into the center of the story.

In the house, the role of leader is taken over by the anti-property beggar Isebel (in the Bible, the Queen of Israel), who also wants to sacrifice clothes from the residents to the fiery Moolok (a burning rubbish hole in this case). In the end, he wants to sacrifice the children as well.

The work the intertextual rotations that go on rounds after the middle stage bury a lot of interesting questions that were raised by the beginning of the work.

“Did you choose air conditioning before your child’s future?” To this crucial question, the work crystallizes: what we are willing to give up in order for our children to have a viable planet. In the novel, giving up amenities is a project that seems to break down into its own impossibility.

The novel does not remain a list of different clusters of goods, but it ambitiously delves into the core of goods and rubbish, what is at the level of the cycle of matter and energy. It examines, in the spirit of posthumanist critique, the movement of matter that is disturbed by man by forming an unground inorganic substance from organic matter destined for circulation.

Acknowledgments are cited as sources of inspiration Antti Salminen and Tere Vadénin works Energy and experience: a naphthological essay mixed Life and anergy. Useful reading tips for those interested in the topic.

The most glorious the novel features Gustafsson’s language, which is completely peculiar and wild. Rehab is also surprisingly funny. He rarely gets laughed out loud while reading a book. The work’s critique of commodity capitalism is also at the heart of the climate crisis and therefore the best subject for the novel.

Yet the anarchist form and absurdity of the work make the fine observations unnecessarily detached from the whole. The end result is confusing. Rehab is not, in the end, a very complete novel, although its ingredients are delicious.

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