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Island of the Doomed

2012
Author:

Stig Dagerman

Island of the Doomed

A haunting masterpiece of Scandinavian literature—now published for the first time in the United States

In the summer of 1946, while secluded in August Strindberg’s cabin in the Stockholm archipelago, Stig Dagerman wrote Island of the Doomed—a novel that would establish him as Sweden’s brightest literary star. To this day it is a singular work of fiction—a haunting tale that oscillates around seven castaways as they await their inevitable death on a desert island.

Undoubtedly one of the strangest novels of the twentieth century.

J. M. G. Le Clézio, from the Foreword

In the summer of 1946, while secluded in August Strindberg’s small cabin in the Stockholm archipelago, Stig Dagerman wrote Island of the Doomed. This novel was unlike any other yet seen in Sweden and would establish him as the country’s brightest literary star. To this day it is a singular work of fiction—a haunting tale that oscillates around seven castaways as they await their inevitable death on a desert island populated by blind gulls and hordes of iguanas. At the center of the island is a poisonous lagoon, where a strange fish swims in circles and devours anything in its path. As we are taken into the lives of each castaway, it becomes clear that Dagerman’s true subject is the nature of horror itself.

Island of the Doomed is a chilling profile of terror and guilt and a stunning exploration—written under the shadow of the Nuremberg Trials—of the anxieties of a generation in the postwar nuclear age.

Island of the Doomed

Stig Dagerman (1923–1954) was regarded as the most talented young writer of the Swedish postwar generation. Among the many works he wrote during his tragically short life is his classic, German Autumn (Minnesota, 2011).

J. M. G. Le Clézio received the Stig Dagerman Award and later the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2008.

Laurie Thompson’s many translations include the works of Henning Mankell, Håkan Nesser, and Mikael Niemi.

Island of the Doomed

Undoubtedly one of the strangest novels of the twentieth century.

J. M. G. Le Clézio, from the Foreword

Island of the Doomed is a novel as dark and macabre as any of the work of the great playwright.

Blogcritics.org

In Island of the Doomed, Dagerman bombards the reader with a nonstop flood of imagery coupled with detailed realistic descriptions that sometimes pass over into Surrealism. Close analysis of the imagery shows that he was consistently in complete intellectual control of what he was writing.

Laurie Thompson, Beatrice

Beautifully and densely written.

PopMatters

Island of the Doomed

Foreword: The Star of Myself
J.M.G. Le Clézio

The Castaways
The Thirst of Dawn
The Paralysis of Morning
The Hunger of Day
The Sorrow of Sunset
The Obedience of Twilight
The Longing of Evening
The Fires of Night
The Struggle Over the Lion

Island of the Doomed

www.dagerman.us

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UMP blog - Our need for consolation: Reading Stig Dagerman (by Lo Dagerman)

Finally, the writings of Swedish author Stig Dagerman are becoming more available in the English language. Several volumes, some in new translations, are currently being published in the USA: German Autumn, Island of the Doomed, A Burnt Child (forthcoming) from the University of Minnesota Press, and a short story collection by Godine (see links below). Dagerman’s entire body of work is available in French, and a good part in Italian, German and Spanish, and the goal, as Siri Hustvedt suggested at a recent Dagerman seminar in Stockholm, is to eventually have all of his works available in English.

Read the full article.