If Sweden is so wonderful, how come its fiction is so bleak?

Michael Booth has a rather witty and grumpy takedown of the Nordic countries (writ broadly).  You shouldn’t read too much into this — it’s light on data and long on impressions, and clearly designed to be as cantankerous as possible, but it’s both a fun read, and a somewhat useful perspective to keep in mind as Northern European countries continue to be uncritically lauded by the media.

As to the title, it’s genuinely something I’ve wondered.  I haven’t consumed much Swedish media — basically just the webcomic Anders Loves Maria, the Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo et al), and Let the Right One In, but man, the thread that ties those together is an incredibly depressing view of human nature.  This is terribly unscientific and all, but I have a hard time imagining that people with that bleak an outlook on their fellows are truly living in an earthly paradise.


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