Beauty, Blessing and Hope

A 14-year old girl bleeds to death in a ditch in Zambia. A Justice of the Supreme Court dies under mysterious circumstances in the United States. Three activists meet in an apartment in Sweden to receive information about a catastrophe. A young American girl tries to run away from her past on a bus. Someone builds a witch's pyramid in a midwife’s garden. And at the centre of all these events is Ellen Elg, a Swedish doctor with an unspecified assignment in Africa.

80° från varmvattnet (Beauty, Blessing and Hope) is the first book in a series about Ellen Elg. It deals with sexuality, the oppression of women and death in different environments; topics seldom depicted in Swedish suspense literature.

Karin Alfredsson’s colourful, yet unsentimental novel - a novel where death hovers in the shadow of every home, also depicts how individual lives are cynically sacrificed by multinational industries. As always, it is the most vulnerable who are the victims, most of which are women. And as usual, it is those who control the world, those with economic or ideological power that pose the biggest threat - most of which are men.

First published by Ordfront, Sweden, 2006.
291 pages
Awarded with The Swedish Crime Academy's Debutant Award in 2006

Reviews
"Karin Alfredsson has written a committed thriller (...) It is exciting, effective and important."
Maria Schottenius, Dagens Nyheter

"Political settings behind literary portrayals have an unfortunate habit of weighing down the actual story, diminishing it, flattening it and turning it into something hard to read or outright boring. Such is not the case with this book. The theme of poor Africans and how the western world exploits them, along with pharmaceutical companies’ ruthless quest for profits, is here, and it is clear and strong. But where Mankell before her did not succeed in getting the story off the ground using this theme in his book Kennedy’s Brain (Kennedys hjärna) from last year, Alfredsson does. This is a compact and linguistically well-told thriller that keeps the reader in a firm grasp right up to the last page. The fact that it has additional dimensions beyond pure suspense makes it that much better."
HIV Aktuellt

"80° från varmvattnet (Beauty, Blessing and Hope) is about oppression and power in various forms, about the vulnerability of women and colonial exploitation. (...) Karin Alfredsson is able to depict each phenomenon with a strong and exacting sense of being there. Her use of language is intense and intrusive. (...) This is an impressive and deeply disturbing novel. It is an urgent and skilful depiction of post-colonial oppression and the blind ruthless exploitation that multinational companies engage in with vulnerable people who do not have the power or the language to protest loudly enough to be heard by those on the comfortable sofas in the western world."
Crister Enander, Sundsvalls tidning

"80° från varmvattnet (Beauty, Blessing and Hope) is indeed a disturbing book. At the same time it is an intelligent story about political resistance, packaged as a thriller."
Rebecka Bohlin, Arbetaren

"The journalist Karin Alfredsson has a mission with her thriller: to open our eyes to the inequities that affect women in the third world, and she does it well. It touches you and makes you feel angry and involved."
Damernas värld




 

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