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Benny & Shrimp

(Grabben i graven bredvid #1)

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  3,972 ratings  ·  631 reviews
The bestselling "offbeat, down-to- earth love story"(The Observer, London)- now available in the United States

An international sensation, this addictively readable tale asks the question: Why is it so impossible to get a relationship between two middle-aged misfits to work? The answer lies in the story of Shrimp, a young widowed librarian with a sharp intellect and a home
Paperback, 209 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
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Popular Answered Questions
Maria Budai Yes, when Benny talked about a Christamas Party with his family members. But as fas as I remember she was a relative of Benny (a cousine or something)…moreYes, when Benny talked about a Christamas Party with his family members. But as fas as I remember she was a relative of Benny (a cousine or something) so I found strange their relationship.(less)

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Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,972 ratings  ·  631 reviews

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Sep 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
I hated EVERYTHING about this book. The terrible, stupid plot line, with its stupid conflicts and "twists" that I had to read TWICE because each event was delved into in excruciating detail by each character (the chapters alternated from Benny's voice to Shrimp's). The crappy poetry intro to each chapter. The annoying characters, especially the librarian, who lived up to all stereotypes of a librarian by being plain and boring and "shrimpy", AND all the stereotypes of crazy women by being moody ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Jul 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: interested in quirky romances
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: ARC
Mini Synopsis:
Benny is a thirty something, single, hard working, Swedish dairy farmer living on his failing family farm. His mother whom worked diligently with him to keep the farm running has just passed away. “Shrimp” is a librarian whose intellectually based life is in the near by city. She has just lost her husband of several years.
Although opposites, the two cross paths numerous times with one another in the local cemetery when visiting their dead loved one’s graves. While both note their
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the very first page.
Every Page had something on it that made me smile, laugh, cringe or just nod my head in agreement. Katarina is so honest with her character's. There were a few times where it felt like she had dipped in my head and pulled some of the thoughts that I don't admit that I think, and then put them in her book. Shrimp was so many pieces of me, and that's probably not a good thing to admit, but it was refreshing. I loved Benny. He was just what I would
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Benny & Shrimp is the story of two thirty-something misfits. Benny is a Swedish cow milk farmer who has never married. Desiree, A.K.A. Shrimp is a thirty-something, plain Jane librarian who dresses in beige and lives an organized life in her sterile apartment. She is a widow of two years.

Benny and Shrimp meet in the cemetery where they go each day to visit their dearly departed --Benny his parents, and Shrimp, her late husband, Orjan. When they first notice each other, their private thoughts
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
I browse produce at the market the same way that I browse books at the library: whatever looks appealing at that very moment. I judge books by their covers (really, is there any other logical way to choose them?). Sometimes, an intriguing title, an interesting illustration, or an author's name will draw me in. Each time, I never know what it'll be.

Benny & Shrimp, what a strange title! And probably why I grabbed it off the "M" fiction shelf at the library. Definitely offbeat. The story
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Some books you fall in love with at the very beginning, from page one I was in amore with this little novel. It begins with Desiree sitting on the bench in front of her husbands grave. She is trying to feel bad enough about his death. Desiree is a librarian who lives in the city. Her apartment is in the minimalist in fashion and she dresses mainly in beige. While at the cemetery, she sees a farmer who is constantly planting things at the gaudy, over the top plot next to her late husband.

Oct 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
This slim novel was as addicting as the blurb on the cover claimed. The chapters are 3-4 pages and alternate between Benny and Shrimp's version of the same story. It's a rather quiet story that had me smiling much of the time. The main characters are in their mid-late 30s and getting worried that life is passing them by. Instead of observing, they want to participate in life. So they take a leap and strike up an unlikely friendship that becomes much more - but what? They reach a point where they ...more
Jaime H
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book begs the question, do opposites attract and if so, can it work? That seems to be the theme of this book. Or is it, do two lonely people who are completely opposite fall for each other just out of need?

Frankly, I loved this book. It was a fast read, passionate and left me wondering about Benny and Shrimp's relationship. I wasn't sure what I wanted from them. I wanted Benny to find a wife. I wanted Shrimp to be that wife. However, at the same, I didn't want Shrimp to be that wife.
It's rare that I come across a novel that I can't find fault with. Benny & Shrimp happens to be one of those rare books.

Mazetti has a way of holding your attention despite the fact that nothing much happens. It's such a simple story, yet the romance between the main characters is anything but. Benny & Shrimp is not plot driven, it's character driven. Such stories require a great deal in the way of characterization and, with such lovable, quirky figures, Mazetti gives us just that.

Feb 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So, there's a dairy farmer and a librarian. They meet in a cemetery. Her husband is dead. His parents are dead. "Who stands up for the dead? Looks after their rights, listens to their problems, and waters their potted plants?" p.1
The development of this relationship is truthful, unsentimental and as stubborn as the characters. I even liked the ending--nonfairytale-type.
p.36: "She looked like somebody who reads books all the time, voluntarily. Long ones, with small print and no pictures."

Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a quick read of which I really enjoyed the first two thirds. I wasn't as happy with the ending, but it was still a fun summer read.
Karen Fitzpatrick
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did mind the Swedish references at times, but enjoyed the characters. Their realism was often striking and the fact the author was willing for everything to not be a fairy tale added to the enjoyment of thinking about the situation.
Oct 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I learned that if the librarians stick a 'romance' sticker on the spine of the book you should take the sticker at its word and not be surprised by the odd intimate moments.
This was a Swedish novel translated into English and that alone made it an interesting read.
It's a story about two "middle-aged"(according to the book this is age 35 and 37) people who meet in a cemetary. She's trying to mourn her husband and he's genuinely sad to see his mother, the last companion he had on the family farm,
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Opposites might attract but are they able to make it work and stick together? In Benny & Shrimp, Katarina Mazetti tackles the very real issues of love and attraction in an offbeat and unusual way. Told in the alternating voices of Benny and Desiree (Shrimp) the reader follows the characters as they first loath each other, until they develop a curious physical attraction to each other. Desiree is a young, recently widowed librarian that dabbles in poetry and enjoys intellectual pursuits. ...more
Feb 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The cover flap says this: "Two middle-aged misfits and a love that should not be as complicated as it seems." How could I resist a description like that? Plus, it's a Swedish novel - and I am really growing fond of Swedish novels. The characters were charming and real and the whole time I was just dying to find out how they could resolve that complicated love of theirs. It was charming, blissful, anguish! I was sad when it ended and quickly hopped on the internet to see if there was a sequel ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
I read Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti in two quick sittings. I really enjoyed Benny & Shrimp. It's a quirky story of love between a farmer (Benny) and a librarian (Shrimp). I liked that this didn't read like a cheesy romance novel, bodices did not rip, chests did not heave.
Read the rest of my review here
Veronique Zancarini
Interesting to see that each time I read a book written by authors from Scandinavia, I get pleasantly surprised by the often simple but efficient storylines. No beating around the bush or tortured characters there ... yet the book was interesting to read and was, in a very casual way, dealing with clash of two worlds and how sometimes, when a relationship fails, nobody is in the wrong.
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was cruising along fine with the story. I loved that it was written/set in Sweden. It kept me interested and overall I liked it. Until the ending! NO! Stars revoked for that.

I need to discuss with my dear Fab friend who sent the book.

PS: I love getting a surprise book and keeping it secret until all have read the books. Thanks for this one, Dawn!
I was a bit disappointed by this book but at the same time, it was hard to put it down, so I guess it was not THAT bad! I saw there was a sequel but I'm not really looking forward to it...
Jul 20, 2010 rated it liked it
I started reading this at my mom's house over the weekend -- she'd taken it out of the library -- and I was immediately hooked. I finished it in 2 days. It's bittersweet in the best way.
Yosra Abdelkader
I loved the story but I hated the ending :/
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I can't say as I found any of the characters in this novel to be terribly sympathetic. Benny wanted the perfect woman to share his bed, clean up his life, and help him in the cow-shed, but wasn't willing to compromise in the least in what he wanted. Shrimp was slightly less obnoxious. She was baby-crazy, longing for a full life, but un-knowledgeable of how to get it. She at least, in the long run, made an effort to show she'd be willing to work with Benny at a compromise. Marta, secondary ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A slim, easy to read romance about a widowed librarian and a dairy farmer in Sweden. They feel a mad attraction to each other, but their lifestyles clash. She wants to pursue High Culture; he wants to milk his cows and get the boiler repaired. As in most of these books, they meet cute (in the cemetery, tending to the graves of late husband and mother, respectively), fight against the attraction, then have highs, then have lows. The book is funny, sometimes a little saccharine. The chapters are ...more
Jackson Matthews
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
O boy! Though I do not remember choosing this book, I was very pleased to have it given to me by a fun friend. I may agree with her review on the small plotishness, but there was so much in it -- animal husbandry, philosophy, discussion of small shareholders [it was in Sweden, but parallels are in the US], difference in aesthetics and the popularity of each, heartbreaking scenes, Inez' great idea for a sociological hobby, and literature. I can SEE the same thing as Lady Chatterly's Lover, ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It felt like a very authentic and relatable romance novel. I appreciated being able to read from both of the main character's perspectives. It's definitely an easy and enjoyable read for someone who wants to either spend a few afternoons reading or someone trying to hop back on the reading horse.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
charming little book. Really good, natural translation.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Do opposites attract, repel, or both?
Areski Stichweh
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Read it a long time ago (when I was 15 I think) and really liked it. The second book is not as good.
Nutt Piromlapha
Feb 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Katarina Mazetti began her career as a teacher and later moved into broadcast journalism. She is a prize-nominated author, commentator, musician, poet, and the producer of “Freja”, a program for women on Swedish radio. Benny & Shrimp has sold more than 450,000 copies in her native Sweden.

Other books in the series

Grabben i graven bredvid (2 books)
  • Le caveau de famille
“I don't believe in Love, although I've experienced it. I could say. When I can't sleep, I lie there imagining it's because I never actually gave it a chance. I kind of never reached the stage of thinking I had to put it first, in front of everything else.

Sometimes I feel I haven't really reached dry land yet, and maybe never will.”
“I've no idea if she's ugly or beautiful; it's kind of irrelevant. As long as it's her.” 3 likes
More quotes…