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Wilful Disregard

(Ester Nilsson #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  6,977 ratings  ·  726 reviews
Ester Nilsson is a sensible person in a sensible relationship. She knows what she thinks and she acts according to her principles.

Until the day she is asked to give a lecture on renowned artist Hugo Rask. The man himself sits in the audience, spellbound, and when the two meet afterwards, he has the same effect on her.

From now on Ester's existence is intrinsically linked to
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 28th 2016 by Picador (first published 2013)
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Shirin آنلاین پیدا نمیشه مگر اینکه آنلاین خریداری کنید و پی دی اف بخونید

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3.70  · 
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 ·  6,977 ratings  ·  726 reviews

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Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: intellectual nymphs and the older men they love
Recommended to Jaidee by: delicious matron of middle years
Shelves: four-stars-books
4 "astute, cerebral, aloof" stars !!!

The Book that I wish More of You would Read Award of 2018

This novel by Lena Andersson won two Swedish literary prizes in 2013 and reading it I can understand why. I must also note that the translation by Sarah Death is absolutely superb.

In her heated state, Ester was unable to see that utterances could be as light as ash and just as burnt-out. They were scattered lazily, fell, came drifting down. Words were not enduring monuments to intentions and truths.
This has won a prestigious award in Sweden. And just like that, I know that I can never trust those awards. Ever. Again.

The only reason I made it past the 5% mark was that I wanted to write an angry review, and I can't do that with less than 5% read. So I read on, and by 50% I was both less angry and actually getting used to the incredibly annoying, pretentious and outdated language. (And then I finished it.) When I start to count the amounts of "ty" (old-fashioned "because") in a modern book,
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: augustpriset
I hate it when the books I pick to escape the heavy burden of other books turn out to be equally painful.

And yet, I don't. I rarely read books in one go anymore, but today, I made an exception and even sacrificed some vital minutes of sunshine in January. It started out as a lazy way out of confronting either Günter Grass' retelling of the history of the Hitler dog years or Al Gore's bleak vision of the future, but it soon earned a life of its own.

In each human heart, there is a potential for ap
Julie Ehlers
What can I say that will convince you to give this short, Swedish novel a chance? Our youngish heroine, Ester, a poet and essayist, begins a flirtation with an older artist named Hugo. Due to a tendency on her part to read too much into things, and an apparent refusal on his part to just be direct, miscommunication of the most familiar sort ensues. What’s really going on is pretty obvious to us, the readers, but not to poor Ester. Not only does she misread the entire situation, but, interestingl ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this wonderfully dense slim novel Lena Andersson manages to encapsulate the intensely personal—the treatment of a woman in love with a man uninterested in her—and broaden it to encompass larger political questions and concerns.
”[Are] we in fact not all to some extent utilitarians, that is consequentialists, that is, we judge things in terms of outcomes, even when we claim to be applying principles?...A consequentialist…is obliged to be against democracy if it turns out to have worse conseque
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Willful Disregard is subtitled, “a novel about love.” Well, that depends on the reader’s definition of “love.” The true definition of what Willful Disregard is about can be found on the second page: “The dreadful gulf between thought and words, will and expression, reality and unreality, and the things that flourish in that gulf, are what this story is about.”

Not since Scott Spencer’s Endless Love has such a laser-sharp view into the nature of obsession been written. Our protagonist, 30-somethin
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This exquisite novel renders the unconscious captivity of doomed and atmospheric love and the wilful disregard that fuels the (un)necessary self deception such 'love' requires, as solid and sharp and glistening as a diamond.

This novel tells the story of Ester Nilsson, a sensible person in a sensible relationship. She knows what she thinks and she acts according to her principles. Until the day she is asked to give a lecture on renowned artist Hugo Rask. The man himself sits in the audience, spe
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ester Nillson, a 31 year-old essayist and poet, is an academic and published writer of esoteric works. Important to her is the precision of a word, which makes me think of Flaubert’s “let mot juste.” Also integral to her perception of the world is that subjective experience should also be objective (and vice-versa)—i.e. that emotions should not get in the way of defining the truth of an experience.

“She worked steadily at decoding the nature of the world and of human beings.”

Ester believes, for
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The phrase ”Egenmäktigt förfarande” refers to the Swedish crime when someone is taking the law into his own hands and blocking or otherwise preventing something so the owner is restrained from using it. Philosophically, the term might be used in other situations, according to the author. The philosophical poet Ester meets the artist Hugo and falls desperately in love. Or, perhaps the right word is obsessed. The relationship, or what it is, is far from equal and Ester does everything and anything ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't do better than Julie Myerson's Guardian review: "Though the cover would have us believe this is “a novel about love”, I’m not so sure: I think it’s a novel about shame. The shame of rejection, the shame of self-deception, the blushing, excruciating shame that comes of being the one without the power, the one who longs the hardest and cares the most. All Ester wants is for Rask to return her feelings, to love her back, to claim her. But when she takes his hand in public it squirms “like a ...more
Jaclyn Day
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a masterpiece of unrequited longing and misplaced identity. The story centers around Ester Nilsson, a writer, and her infatuation with chilly, cerebral artist Hugo Rask. They’re equals at first: her intellectual musings about his work at a lecture hall draw him in, making her an irresistible target for his ego.

Their relationship remains platonic—but charged—for some time, rooted in discussions they both find thrilling for different reasons. As soon as the pairing becomes romantic,
Ell Eastwood
Yet another book that could've been solved by lesbianism.

(view spoiler)
Leigh Ellis
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lonely-hearts
Anyone who's experienced it, knows that unrequited love is a bitch. But by succeeding in articulating this universal experience, Andersson will help you feel less alone if you're stuck in the muck and trying to claw your way out. That she's able to do so from the female's perspective is even more satisfying.

I feel like I underlined and dog-eared the entire book, but this passage on hope made an especially strong impression:

"Definitive answers are easier to deal with than diffuse ones. This is
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: svenskonia
A 200-page read that gets increasingly pointless after the first 50 pages. Despite the clear presence of (self)irony, consciousness, and relatable grains of truth, Lena Andersson's novel is far too repetitive, pathologically so, 'til hollow. The characterization, that is probably less interesting than having to endure a broadcast of golf tournament on a Sunday afternoon after a meal with the relatives, is not helping either. Most of the book one spends being forced witness to Ester's overanalyzi ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been contemplating about the nature of love and its many aspects: the people involved, their psychology and behavior under its influence; the effect--exalting, nauseating and everything in between--it has on other activities of the daily routine; expectations it engenders, fulfills, or thwarts; responsibilities, if any, its participants owe one another; role of (William James's) two-minds problem in its many enchantments and disillusions, to list a few.

In the wonderfully crafted narrative o
Red Newsom
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel seen.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL writing.
Accurately (& painfully) describes what love is.
Džana Doo
After just reading a couple of pages of this book I had to look up when it was released, because the language made me feel like I was reading an old classic rather than a new book. The way the characters talk to each other throughout the book is also very unnatural to me since it is very academic and it makes them sound like they are scientists, not lovers. That really bothered me, even though I got used to it. I wanted to give this book a 2, but it has clearly stuck to me long after reading it, ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woman falls in love with a man. Finally meets him. (Yes, in that order.) He loves being worshipped by her. One-sided infatuation makes for some awkward sexy times. And that's when the train wreck begins. (Because everything prior to this was totally normal, amiright?)

The novel depicts her thoughts and emotions as she willingly lies to herself in an attempt to continue the affair. She overthinks everything. Loses ability to think rationally. Abandons all pride. Sits around waiting and obsessing.
Jun 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really need to stop reading these Nordic prize-winners. I feel as if I'm sifting through tonnes of sand with a pan for gold.

I wasn't entertained by this book; it just left me feeling mildly inconvenienced. Sure, the tagline says it's a novel about love (I wonder why they put it there, were people not getting the purpose of the story under all its waffling?), but it's mostly a story about conversations between people that read all the supplements and articles in broadsheets and god, they want
Adrian White
There were some fine individual lines in this angst-ridden love story but ultimately I had so little sympathy for the main character that I thought she deserved what she got - which was nothing but grief.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a very intellectual Swedish version of "He's Just Not That Into You" .
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
unrequited love hurts , it is even agonizing to read about it in this brutally detailed story about love, hope and self deception. the novel perfectly depicts the seemingly never ending circle that the loving party is entrapped in; hope, misery, disillusionment and then, after the smallest contact with the beloved, destructive hope again.
from book:
--the dreadful gulf between thought and words, will and expression, reality and unreality, and the things that flourish in that gulf are what this s
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review at:

Here's what happens in Lena Andersson's Willful Disregard: Ester, a young Swedish writer, is asked to write an article about Hugo, a famous artist. She meets him and within one week she is completely obsessed with him. Despite their age difference, they develop a close friendship which consists of long dinners spent debating philosophy and ideas. Ester's obsession with Hugo persists as the weeks go by, and eventually, their relationship tur
Bonnie Brody
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ester Nilsson is in a long-term relationship with Per. It appears to be comfortable but not very passionate. Ester gets a call from a magazine called 'The Cave' and is asked to write an article about the enigmatic artist, Hugo Rask. It is not long before she becomes passionately, inextricably in love with him, obsessing over their relationship to the point where her personal life lacks meaning without him. She leaves Per on the basis of her feelings for Hugo and only hope to have them reciprocat ...more
Patrik Hallberg
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not sure whether I would give this book a five or a four. In the end I decided to go for a four and maybe a five will come in the future if I re-read it.

Currently I think that the last sentence tried to end something that didn't need to be ended or explicitly written. You understood what would happen anyway and after reading the last sentence I felt disappointed that Lena ended this almost perfect book in this way...

I consider tho book to be a modern version of "The Serious Game" by Hjal
Kasa Cotugno
Don't be misled by the subtitle, A Novel About Love. This is no chicklit girl-and-boy-meet-cute, have their ups and downs and end up blissfully a pair. This is a full on examination of self delusion and crush gone viral. Lena Andersson is a Swedish award winning columnist and contemporary analyst, whose mission here is a serious dissection of a young, intelligent woman's spiral into obsessive behavior. It is a novel of today, since modern technology plays a large role. This slim volume is writte ...more
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I greedily gobbled this book right up. As I love almost everything Lena Dunham does, when she mentioned how good this book was in Lenny Letter, I had to read it. For anyone who has ever longed for a male that gave mixed signals that you willfully wasted time interpreting in your favor - though deep down you knew those signals were based on nothing more than careless immediate need and selfishness - then this is the book for you. If you haven't experienced that by the way, then go out and live a ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two dear friends of mine recommended this book to me while I was struggling with so many things. I could totally relate to it. And found myself telling myself "this is exactly what you experienced". I should also confess that if they didn't recommend this book I would've never read it or even looked at it because it looks like those romantic novels that are usually useless for me. But I should say that although it looks cheesy and simple but it's very much what you all of us need to read. You ca ...more
Claire Fuller
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Ester, the protagonist in Willful Disregard was sometimes so frustrating, so blind to what was happening or rather, not happening in her relationship with the artist Hugo Rask that I found myself shouting at the book. But at the same time I recognised so many of her actions in myself in previous failed relationships - the over-analysis of each thing he said, the pining, and the final realisation. Despite Ester's total lack of self awareness during this period, she has a very precise, critical an ...more
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Lena Andersson (born 18 April 1970 in Stockholm) is a Swedish author and journalist. She won the August Prize in 2013 for the novel Wilful Disregard . In the same year, the same book, won her the Literature Prize given by the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Other books in the series

Ester Nilsson (2 books)
  • Utan personligt ansvar
“Hjärnan känner inga tempus. Det den har längtat efter har den redan haft. Språnget sker när vi inte vill förlora den framtid vi redan känt.” 7 likes
“- Människor är inte så små som man tror. Och inte så stora. Felet med att ha makten som bedömningsgrund och inte handlingarna är att nästan alla friskriver sig då, var och en hittar sin maktlöshet när de behöver den. För alla är maktlösa inför någon, och något. Alla har ett skikt av maktlöshet i sig, i sin upplevelse av sig själva i tillvaron, som de då använder. Och därför ser världen ut som den gör. Alla har en glipa i sin makt, även när de vet att de har makt och ansvar, som de kan utnyttja för att förstå varför de måste handla som de gör. Moralen börjar hos individen. Man måste kräva den av alla. De som har makt föddes maktlösa och denna känsla är den som består i dem hela livet, särskilt i de stunder då de handlar fel. Då minns de att de blev mobbade på skolgården och slagen av pappa och inser att allt är någon annans fel även nu.” 5 likes
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