Manny's Reviews > Min salig bror Jean Hendrich: en roman

Min salig bror Jean Hendrich by Carina Burman
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's review
Sep 07, 10

liked it
bookshelves: history-and-biography, swedish-norwegian-and-danish, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts
Read in January, 1999

At least half the people I know who have done a PhD hated the experience, and regard it in retrospect as one of the most horrible episodes in their life. It's very easy to commit, and then realise too late that you've undertaken to spend several of your best years writing something that no one, including you, will ever want to read. So if you're trying to decide whether to begin a PhD, think long and hard before taking this step. Only go ahead if you are ABSOLUTELY SURE that you want to do it.

But, before I scare everyone off, let me say that this book is a shining example of how to get it right. Carina Burman wrote a PhD on an obscure 18th century Swedish writer called Johan Henric Kellgren. Most people would have produced some dreary piece of rubbish that would send the average reader to sleep before they'd reached page 4. But not Carina! She discovered that Kellgren had had a fascinating life - so fascinating, in fact, that she felt compelled to rewrite her dissertation as a sexy, fast-moving historical novel. It got published a year or two later, was read by plenty of people (including me), and launched her on a successful dual career as an academic/novelist.

It really is a shame that none of her books, at least as far as I'm aware, have been translated into English. The three I've read were all excellent.
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