Ms Marit Kapla is a Swedish author and journalist. She was born in 1970 and grew up in the small village of Osebol in the mid-western parts of Sweden. She served as Artistic Director of Göteborg Film Festival 2007–2014, as Founder and Program Director of the festival’s digital streaming platform Draken Film 2014–2015 and during 2016–2020 she was one of two editors-in-chief of cultural journal Ord&Bild. She is a member of the board of PEN Sweden. In April 2019, she debuted with the book Osebol, an extraordinary work based upon interviews with almost all the residents of her home village. Osebol would grant her the 2019 August Prize for best fictional book, the Publicistklubben Prize Guldpennan 2019, the Studieförbundet Vuxenskolans författarpris 2019, Borås Tidning’s Debutant Prize 2020, Göran Palm-stipendiet 2021 as well as the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2022 and a shortlist placement for the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2022. Her latest book, Kärlek på svenska (eng. Love in Swedish) was published on August 24th 2022 and consists of interviews with people all over Sweden about love, made by documentary filmmaker Staffan Julén for his film with the same title.
© Picture Cato Lain
In Kärlek på svenska (Love in Swedish), a number of individuals of different ages and backgrounds speak open-heartedly of the love in their lives. Each person lives somewhere in Sweden, from Ystad in the south to Karesuando in the north. Their unique experiences and formulations form the core of this striking lyrical depiction of the terms and conditions of love in our time. The texts are quotations from verbatim interviews made by Staffan Julén for his documentary film also entitled Love in Swedish.
The reader will meet the 31 individuals one after another, from the oldest person interviewed to the youngest. The text is layed out like poetry, highlighting all the joy and grief that love brings us. The interviewed persons talk about:
Alice Staffan Beckman, 87: her beloved Karin’s last moment in life and how Karin reminded her of her early love Marianne with whom she broke up because her parents did not approve of Marianne’s background.
Inger Alfvén, 79: her first love, a girl in class called Anna with whom she had an intense non-physical friendship/relationship for a few years but ended up losing interest in when Anna became more similar in manners and behavior to Inger herself.
Lena Eklund, 79: how she fell in love with another woman at work and how society still often regards same sex relationships as something odd.
Maj Doris Rimpi, 77: life as a Sami artist, travelling all over the world and now living quietly in a cottage in the company of her two reindeer.
Doris Sundholm, 76: having been married over 50 years to Christer, running a supermarket together with him and raising three sons.
Gittan Frejhagen, 75: the gratitude she feels over starting a new life in her fifties with Lollo.
Marianne Davidson, 74: how she met Janne on a dating site and how the pandemic made her experience the comfort in a quiet life together with him and their dog.
Lasse Labba, 71: the restricted views on love and dancing in the religious Sami context of his youth and how he still met his partner at a dance, even though he was lousy at dancing.
Carl-Gustav Wachtmeister, 69: the strength you can build in a long marriage and what it takes for that marriage to overcome unfidelity.
Janne Björklund, 68: how he met Lin in Thailand, built a house there for her and her kids and how he now grieves her early death in cancer.
Mats Wikström, 65: what it feels like when a chaotic love affair gives you ‘broken heart syndrome’.
Hasse Karlberg, 61: what life is like together with Camilla, surrounded by their dogs, hens and innumerable other animals, helping them to overcome the challenges of bipolar syndrome.
Sanny Laurin, 61: what it is like to be left by your lover, the similarities between art and love and how creativity can comfort you when your heart is broken.
Maricarmen Sempértegüi, 59: leaving Bolivia for Sweden with three kids, trying to get away from machismo-defined, destructive patterns of relationships and finding a new future.
Anna Oldner Bengtsson, 56: what it is like to find great love late in life and to have to watch him pass away in illness a few years later.
Fabian Torsson, 55: falling head over heels in love on a dating site and struggling to make all the pieces in your new life fit together.
Beatrice Johansson, 55: coming to terms with a childhood influenced by a loveless father, now regularly travelling to an Italian convent to find love in the community of the nuns and the other guests.
André Estrada, 54: the difficulties of finding love and what it is like to be constantly living on your own.
Carina Lloyd, 54: finding love after divorcing the father of her children and now looking back at many years of a long distance relationship.
Tatjana Ristovski, 53: meeting your teenage sweetheart 27 years later, discovering that you are still right for each other.
Dmitri Plax, 50: the unfathomable grief when his beloved son Peter was murdered and how life became managable when he unexpectedly got new family members to care about.
Yasmine Garbi, 48: how she was unable to forget the short love affair with Michael and how they decades later finally got together.
Christofer Bocker, 43: dating in the time of COVID-19 when the border between Sweden and Norway all of a sudden was patrolled by military.
D’amour Nordkvist, 42: his own experiences of how coming from different cultures can create obstacles within a relationships .
Aslat Simma, 40: the small things that make love flourish and last in everyday life, like when your partner makes you coffee at just the right moment without you having to ask for it.
Erica Huuva Simma, 39: meeting your partner in class and the small but important steps towards forming a relationship and a family.
Helena Granström, 36: how the experience of being together with another person can never fully be shared with the other, no matter how physically close you are.
Benjamin Ulbricht, 34: met the love of his life in a convent, but for him it was never a question of choosing between love and God.
Francine Kaneza, 26: what you do when you realize after three years that your relationship is not based on love but on the other person’s need to control you.
Elias Bernmarker, 23: the process when you and your partner move into a deeper state of your relationship and for the first time tell each other that you love one another.
Ebba Akterin, 21: the pros and cons of Tinder dating and the paradox in that the person you are looking for might be just the kind of person that would never go on Tinder.
Agent / Rights Director
Kärlek på svenska
Teg Publishing, 2022
Marianne Davidson, 74år
Det var en sajt på nätet.
Asta som är bibliotekarie i Simrishamn
sa till mig
att jag skulle gå in där.
Då hade jag lagt upp min sajt
men ingen bild
för Simrishamn är inte så stort.
Så la jag ut en bild
på mig själv i en växtfärgad mössa
som jag har stickat.
Den var bara ute någon timma
och så ryckte jag den.
Då lyckades Janne se det
och kände igen mig.
Han hade sett mig på torget
i den här mössan.
Vi hade skrivit någon gång innan
så då gav inte han med sig.
Han skrev och skrev flera gånger
och jag svarade.
Jag hade opererat handen
och kunde inte lämna Gladsax.
Då kom han ut
och hade Sigge med sig.
Det blev succé.
Inte bara Janne
Han var änkling
och hade levt ensam i två år.
Jag hade också levt ensam i två år.
Vi började träffas
käka middag tillsammans
gå ut med Sigge
och göra grejer.
Det är inte så himla roligt
att alltid gå någonstans
och vara ensam.
Under de tiderna jag har varit ensam
det är tre perioder
då har man väldigt lite socialt liv.
Det är som att det bara går att ha
ett jämnt antal stolar
runt ett bord.
Att man inte kan ha
ett ojämnt antal.
Går man ut någonstans när man är ensam
alla män som är där
de är ditsläpade.
Det är väl en gång som jag har varit bjuden
när det har varit
ett udda antal människor
och människor i olika typer av relationer.
Livet är så konventionellt.
Det är inrättat efter
att man ska vara två och två
hur lyckliga eller olyckliga
människor än är.
Janne Björklund, 68år
Det var en bar som jag brukade gå på.
Jag hade träffat henne förut
när jag var i Thailand.
Men hon hade stuckit ifrån den baren.
Hon var uppe i norra Thailand någonstans.
Då ringde barägaren till Lin.
Jag var där
för att jag skulle sätta in nya tänder
men nu syns inte det.
Annandag jul tror jag
var det jag träffade henne.
Hon kom dit.
Piffade upp sig rätt mycket.
Sen for hon med hem till hotellet.
Och då bodde vi där.
Sen åkte vi mellan mitt hotell
och hennes systers hotell i Phuket.
Hon satt jämte mig.
Vid tandläkaren och allting.
Vi fick gå med teckenspråk
eller hur man gör.
Det fungerade någorlunda.
Sen tog jag hit henne till Sverige
Tre månader fick de stanna utan visum.
Först var det väldigt jobbigt för henne.
Då kunde hon ingen svenska.
Men hon var duktig.
Vi köpte böcker
inne i bokhandeln i stan.
Det stod på engelska, thai och svenska.
Nästa år hon kom här
då kunde hon svenska rätt bra.
Hon jobbade mycket nere i Burgsviks camping
och tjänade lite pengar.
Hon var väldigt fattig kan man väl säga.
Hon hade ingen klocka
och ingen mobiltelefon.
Men det köpte jag till henne.
Dmitri Plax, 50år
Jag har fortfarande inte förståt
att Peter är borta.
Det har gått tio månader
och jag förstår det rent faktamässigt.
Jag förstår att han inte lever längre.
Men jag förstår det inte
Hans grav på kyrkogården
har ingenting med honom att göraa
om tanken på att kärleken inte försvinner
bara för att objektet försvinner
om det hjälper.
Det hjälper inte.
Det är mitt svar
Excerpt - Translation
Love in Swedish
Translated into English by Linda Schenck
The text is based on interviews made by documentary filmmaker Staffan Julén for his film LOVE IN SWEDISH.
Marianne Davidson, age 74
There was this website.
Asta the librarian in Simrishamn
I look at it.
I already had a profile
but no photo
since Simrishamn’s not a big place.
So I added a picture
of myself in a cap of hand-dyed yarn
I had knitted.
After just an hour or two
I took it down.
But Janne had time to see it
and recognized me.
He’d noticed me at the market
in that cap.
We’d chatted once or twice before
so this time he didn’t give up.
He kept writing and writing again
and I answered.
I’d had hand surgery
and couldn’t get out of Gladsax.
So he came over
and brought Sigge along.
That was a hit.
Not only Janne
He was a widower
lost his spouse
and had been living alone for two years.
I’d been living alone for two years myself.
We started seeing each other
having dinner together
taking Sigge out
and doing stuff.
It’s not a barrel of laughs
always going places
During the times I’ve been alone
there were three such periods
you don’t have much of a social life.
It’s as if there can only be
an even number of chairs
around a table.
As if you couldn’t have
an odd number.
If you go out somewhere when you’re alone
all the men there
they’ve been dragged along.
I think only one time I was invited out
and there were
an odd number of people
and people in different kinds of relationships.
Life is so conventional.
It’s arranged by
the idea that people are meant to exist two by two
however happy or unhappy
they might be.
And then he broke up with me once.
We were at the market at Kivik.
I had a stall and was selling
I was in my element.
He used to sell at Kivik market too.
He’s a bookseller.
That time he was supposed to help me
set up my market stall
but it didn’t work out.
And I was the one who knew exactly how to do it.
The next day he broke up.
The day after that
he called and said
Sigge was very cross with him.
Janne Björklund, age 68
There was this bar I used to go to.
I had met her before
when I was in Thailand.
But she’d left that bar.
She was up north in Thailand somewhere.
So the owner of the bar phoned Lin.
I was there
to get a new set of teeth
though you can’t tell now.
Boxing Day I think
it was when we met again.
She came in.
Had fixed herself right up fancy.
Then she went back to the hotel with me.
After that we lived there.
Later we were back and forth between my hotel
and her sister’s hotel in Phuket.
She sat next to me.
At the dentist’s and all.
We had to get by with sign language
or whatever people do.
It worked pretty well.
I brought her back here to Sweden
the next year.
Three months they could stay without a visa.
At first it was really hard for her.
She didn’t know any Swedish back then.
But she was a good learner.
We bought books
at the bookstore in town.
The words were in English, Thai and Swedish.
The next year when she got here
she was pretty good at Swedish.
She worked a lot down at the Burgsvik campsite
and earned a bit of money.
She was very poor you might say.
She didn’t have a watch
or a cellphone.
But I bought ‘em for her.
Dmitri Plax, age 50
I still can’t believe
that Peter is gone.
Ten months have passed
and I understand the facts.
I understand that he is no longer alive.
But at the same time I
cannot understand it at all.
His grave in the cemetery
has nothing to do with him.
about the idea that love doesn’t go away
just because its object does
whether that helps.
It doesn’t help.
That’s my answer.