Monday, December 3, 2007

A Xenophobe's Guide to the Swedes

Title: A Xenophobe's Guide to the Swedes
Author: Peter Berlin
Oval Books, updated version 2007 (1994)

This could have been funny and I think a non-Swede would have done a better job than an ex-Swede. There is a none too subtle tone of criticism and one can see Berlin congratulating himself on having escaped such a place as Sweden. He pokes fun and makes jokes but without tenderness or even a wink.

Some things I can relate to though: we are a bit square, for instance, something that becomes very obvious when you live close to Denmark at least, and punctuality is important to us - at least to me! But don't tell me we don't queue in Sweden; we are as good as the English! One thing that becomes clear when reading a book like this is that we are all individuals and that in a world where boundaries and borders (to Westeners) are erased by increased travel and the Internet, it becomes more and more difficult to pin down specific nationalities.

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