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Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End (Fall of the Welfare State #1)

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  1,413 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
A young man falls to his death from a window in a student dorm in Stockholm, his loose shoe striking and killing the little dog being taken for his evening walk by an old man. It seems to be a mundane suicide—at least that’s what the police choose to think. But the young man is American, not Swedish, and there are a couple of odd things about his room when they search it. ...more
Hardcover, 551 pages
Published 2010 by Pantheon Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 23, 2012 Tim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This novel inspires me to identify a new genre in mystery fiction: the police dysfunctional.

Given the current interest in Scandinavian mystery and my enthusiasm for the Beck series (Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall), the Wallander novels by Henning Mankell, the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson, the Harry Hole books by Jo Nesbø, and books by Kjell Eriksson, the prospect of this book was irresistible. The cover blurbs looked great, the author has a bunch of cred, what's not to like?

Let me list seven:
Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy has made quite an impact on the reading public, but many of the themes covered in those novels appeared first in this earlier award-winning thriller, published in Sweden in 2002 and only translated to English in 2010.
The sly, sarcastic tone of this story leads to a disquieting unease and eventually dread as Persson’s depiction of political corruption zeros in on an assassination. The story unfolds through the viewpoints of multiple characters, distinctly drawn.
Mar 20, 2012 Mysterytribune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those of you who are looking for new sensational authors from Scandinavia: Leif Persson is a Swedish criminologist and novelist who was a professor in criminology at the Swedish National Police Board from 1992 to 2008. He is known for his crime fiction novels and for his regular appearances as an expert commentator on notable crime cases in television and newspapers in his native country of Sweden. Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End is one of his relatively recent works translated int ...more
Jim Coughenour
It was a rainy weekend in San Francisco, so I finally finished Persson's long, much-heralded ("one of the best Swedish novels of all time") crime novel – more out of a sense of duty rather than curiosity. Last month I'd tossed aside Paul Murray's Skippy Dies because virtually nothing had happened after 300 pages. So I persevered.

The opening is as dark & droll as any fan of Scandinavian mysteries could hope – a doggie out for its walk is bludgeoned by a shoe tumbling after a body tumbling out
Feb 10, 2012 Bettie☯ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: dån-eddie

To the Bear and Mikael

The best informant is the one who hasn't understood
the significance of what he has told.

The Professor


Stockholm in November

It was Charlie, age thirteen, who saved the life of Vindel, age fifty-five. At least that's how Vindel described it at the preliminary police hearing.

"If Charlie hadn't looked up and pulled me to the side, that damn thing would've hit me in the skull and I wouldn't be sitting here now."

Nope, can't do it, ju
Χρήστος Καψάλης
Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End είναι ο αγγλόφωνος τίτλος που αποδίδει καλύτερα τον αντίστοιχο σουηδικό. Πρόκειται για το πρώτο μέρος μιας αριστουργηματικής τριλογίας του Leif Persson που πραγματεύεται τη μετάβαση της πρότυπης σκανδιναβικής χώρας από την αθωότητα στην ενοχή.

Βρισκόμαστε στη Στοκχόλμη, το φθινόπωρο του 1985. Είναι το προοίμιο ενός ατέλειωτου χειμώνα που θα σαρώσει τη Σουηδία. Το Σοσιαλδημοκρατικό Κόμμα κυριαρχεί, η Σοβιετική υπερδύναμη μπαίνει για τα καλά στην περεστρόικ
switterbug (Betsey)
At the center of this Swedish espionage thriller is the death of an American journalist, John P. Krassner, circa 1988. Was it an accident, a suicide, or murder? The facts known at the opening is that first his body and then his boot falls from the 16th floor of a student dormitory. The boot struck and killed a Pomeranian named Charlie. Charlie's owner, Vindel, is trying to recount the seconds between the body and the boot falling from the window.

After this wry and arresting opening, the reader
3.5 stars

This is the first of a trilogy that traces the the history of Swedish politics from post WWII social democrats to the present day rise of far right groups.

Book #1 is a biting political satire that follows a whack of characters who all have ties to the country’s police & secret security services. It culminates with the assassination of the prime minister, obviously based on the murder of Olof Palme in 1986.

Just as in real life, multiple theories are presented as to who pulled the t
Cynthia Sinsap
Jun 10, 2013 Cynthia Sinsap rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this half a star I would. I found myself racing through the pages trying to find the bits that made this "an award winning Swedish classic"-- "the greatest Swedish crime novel of all time" to quote the blurbs on the book. I've read most of the translated Swedish crime fiction and thoroughly enjoyed the books. Never have a read a book that drug on so badly as this one. I hated the characters-- male dominated abusive language about women-- maybe that was the way things were in the ...more
Jindriska Mendozová
Autor knihy, Leif GW Persson, je ve své zemi, tedy ve Švédsku, skutečnou celebritou. Policista, kterého ze sboru v sedmdesátých letech vyhodili, protože podněcoval novináře, aby pátraly po případech korupce, jak u policie, tak ve švédském soudnictví.
Po nuceném odchodu od policie se začal věnovat psaní. V devadesátých letech se ale ke své původní profesi alespoň částečně vrátil. Pracuje jako profesor Švédského národního policejního výboru, byl poradcem ministerstva spravedlnosti, pro různé tele
As Leif G.W. Persson is a new author for me, I was interested to read the bio in this book:

"Leif Persson is the Grand Master of Scandinavian crime fiction. Over three decades, he has taken a scalpel to the political and social mores of Swedish society in dark, complex and satirical crime novels. His work melds the social realism of a Balzac or a Dickens with the hard-boiled street smarts of a James Ellroy."

Whatever that means..... More importantly, the blurb eventually goes on to note that he is
Dec 03, 2010 Felice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Before I read Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End I had been thinking of it as a book version of a Law and Order episode. It's the first of a planned trilogy of novels based on a true, unsolved crime, the 1986 assassination of Swedish prime minister Olaf Palme. The author, Leif GW Persson has been an adviser to the Swedish Ministry of Justice, is Sweden’s most renowned psychological profiler and is considered Sweden's foremost expert on crime. So maybe this was going to be the behind the h ...more
Steve P
Nov 19, 2010 Steve P rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
I would probably give this 2 1/2 starts if I could, but I really struggled with this one. Just as I was starting to get my bearings among the large number of characters introduced early on, the author launched into a second, parallel story line with a whole new group of characters. And while I found the original police procedural story line enjoyable, I thought the second, which involved the Swedish Secret Police, a bit of a slog -- too many cryptic conversations and political maneuverings.

If your favorite part of Stieg Larsson's trilogy was the last book, The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest, the part where they go in to detail about the Swedish secret police and all the layers of secrecy and politics and intrigue, then you will love this book. That is the bulk of this book. I know more about the (fictionalized?) layers and history of the Swedish secret police, SePo, than I will ever know or want to know about the CIA or FBI. The plot is based on the real assassination of Olaf P ...more
Rafal Jasinski
Dec 31, 2011 Rafal Jasinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Znakomita powieść, nasuwająca nieodparte skojarzenie, że oto obcuje się z czymś, co mogłoby powstać z połączenia twórczość dość odległych od siebie pisarzy, jakimi są James Ellroy i Stieg Larsson. Zagadka tajemniczej śmierci pewnego dziennikarza jest tylko pretekstem do ukazania kulis politycznych salonów, oraz "gier" między wywiadem, służbami bezpieczeństwa i policją. Autor dość szybko odkrywa karty, natomiast największym smaczkiem jest to, że poszczególni bohaterowie nie wiedzą tego, co wie cz ...more
Dec 02, 2014 Vicky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to rate Free Falling As If in a Dream, the final volume in the Story of a Crime Trilogy, to which I would give 4 stars, but could not find the English translation on Goodreads. The crime is the unsolved assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986. For some reason, I remember and have remained interested in this event, perhaps because it seemed impossible at the time that such a thing could happen in Sweden. Almost 30 years later and with the statute of limitations ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I do love Scandanavian police procedurals and after reading mixed reviews on Amazon decided to give this one a try... this book offers far more than I would have expected. The author follows multiple characters simultaneously, lending the reader a perspective into the bureaucracy and ineptitude of real world police work, as it truly functions, in any country. His characterizations are excellent. I enjoyed the complexity of the plot and writing as well.

This is the best book I have read in terms
May 22, 2011 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just to be clear, I really wanted to like this book. As a fan of Stieg Larsson and a few other Swedish authors, this seemed as if it would be right up my alley. Oh, but how wrong I was. I made it through 105 pages before I finally gave up. The first 10 pages were promising, but after that I got bogged down in the sheer number of characters and the complete lack of interesting or seemingly pertinent action. The only reason I made it to page 105 was because I promised myself I would give it at lea ...more
Mar 04, 2017 Ingrid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it better than the Bäckström series. Reading about politics (in Sweden and also in general) was interesting but the length of the book made it a bit tedious. I can see why the Millennium trilogy became so much more popular despite the fact that a lot of the themes and events are common to both books.
The translation is very good though. Maybe one of the reasons I actually finished the book instead of giving up half-way through.
Dec 25, 2016 Roger. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and Joe Nesbo, I wanted something Swedish with some more bite to quote the sleeve notes "Acclaimed as one of the greatest ever Swedish crime novels " they were bang on with that description.
Apr 07, 2013 Col rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, p

The first novel in a trilogy that has become the defining account of the unsolved 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme - an event that still haunts the collective Swedish memory.

Beginning with the death of an unknown American citizen in Stockholm, Leif G.W. Persson slowly unravels the complex web of international espionage, greed, sheer incompetence, and work by a poorly constructed Swedish intelligence force that in this fiction leads to the murder of the p
Stephen Hayes
Over the last 10 years or so Scandinavian crime fiction has come to dominate the genre in the English-speaking world. Many of the books in the genre have a gloomy boozy divorced (or about to be) detective as protagonist. This one is different.

There is no protagonist. We are given glimpses into the lives and loves and hates of members of different branches of the Swedish police as they are touched in some way by the apparent suicide of an American journalist who fell from the 16th floor of a stu
Lisa Sansone
(2 1/2 stars) I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was a tough slog for me to get through it. I can't really imagine anyone without a very keen interest in Sweden getting into it. The writer writes in a very dense, almost abstract style, with lots of characters, and little (often droll) snippets of story you have to work to piece together. You really have to commit to this one to be able to make it through. In some ways, it is more of an attempt at a Tolstoy novel (or a wor ...more
An odd book indeed, though not unenjoyable. There's a bewildering array of characters to get to grips with, frequently changing POV and, I think, timeline, too. I don't have much of a clue so far what is going in but trust the threads will come together at some point. There's a lot of 70s/80s sexism and misogyny, but this is entirely appropriate to the period, still unpleasant to encounter, however. The political strand, with a cunning spy chief trying to outsmart the astute representative of a ...more
I guess I may be a bit shallow. I picked up Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End because I found the title really evocative. The novel itself was a lot less poetic; more like tense and baffling.

The story deals with the aftermath of a seemingly innocuous incident; a man falls from an apartment block to his death. Investigators quickly reach the conclusion that is it suicide, especially since he has left a note in his typewriter starting “I have lived my life caught between the longing of sum
Steven Z.
Recently I was in a bookstore in Stockholm and when I inquired about Swedish mystery writers other than Henning Mankell. The owner of the store suggested I purchase BETWEEN SUMMER'S LONGING AND WINTER'S END by Leif G.W. Persson. I did just that and finished reading the book which I found interesting in terms of plot development but not as satisfactory as I would have hoped. The story revolves around a plot to kill the Swedish Prime Minister who in real life in 1986 was assassinated after attendi ...more
Jan 18, 2014 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a long book with a convoluted plot and many characters. It took me a while to work out how they related to each other, and also to work out when this is all supposed to be happening, which is never explicitly stated - I think because although the novel is ultimately about the assassination of the Swedish prime minister it is not in fact directly about the real life event of 1986. Perhaps I am wrong about that though! I did place it around that period in the end, but opinions seem to vary ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
May 05, 2013 La Stamberga dei Lettori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: antonio
Gli scrittori svedesi di romanzi gialli sono in costante aumento, ma la quantità non è sinonimo di qualità. La Svezia ha in ogni caso una valida tradizione nel campo del romanzo poliziesco: i primi autori ad essere pubblicati in Italia furono, all'inizio degli anni Sessanta, i coniugi Maj Sjowall e Per Wahloo. Essi crearono il personaggio del commissario Martin Beck della polizia di Stoccolma e dai loro libri vennero tratti alcuni film -il più famoso fu quello che ebbe come interprete Walter Mat ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent mystery novel about an unsolved crime, the assassination of the Swedish Prime Minister in 1986. The novel narrates the events as they might have been before the assassination, focusing on the death of an American journalist who seemingly committed suicide in Stockholm while writing about Sweden’s involvement with the CIA (or OSS) before and after WWII and about who was or might have been a spy for the US and/or the USSR. One detective, however, isn’t satisfied with the explanation, ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Jess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book was a hideous beast. I had heard good things about it from various websites, and as the tagline mentions 'Swedish classic' and I love Scandinavian novels, I was excited to finally find a copy in my local bookstore.

Where do I begin? The punctuation and grammar were off throughout about two-thirds of the novel, the names were confusingly similar, there were two different streams of story that only intertwined in the climax (based on a historical event) at about seven-eighths through...

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Other Books in the Series

Fall of the Welfare State (3 books)
  • Another Time, Another Life (Fall of the Welfare State, #2)
  • Faller fritt som i en dröm (Fall of the Welfare State, #3)

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