Manny's Reviews > Fadren: Sorgespel

Fadren by August Strindberg
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really liked it
bookshelves: swedish-norwegian-and-danish, older-women-younger-men, older-men-younger-women

"Human beings can be awful cruel to one another", says Huck Finn after he sees the King and the Duke tarred and feathered. "I warn't feeling so brash as I was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to blame, somehow - though I hadn't done nothing."

I felt the same way after reading this truly horrible series of tableaux from a marriage that's gone off the rails. They can't agree on how to educate their daughter; he wants Bertha to train to be a teacher, but she wants her to stay at home and get a Christian education. She doesn't like the thought that the kid will go to school among atheists and freethinkers and learn to despise her mother.

So Laura methodically spreads rumors that her husband is mentally unstable, while simultaneously sowing doubts in his mind that he is really the child's father. He can see her strategy, but he can't think how to counteract it: she's clever and completely ruthless. She goads him until he snaps and tries to kill her, then uses it as evidence that he should be declared insane. His old nursemaid, the only person he trusts, is delegated to get the straightjacket on him. Raging powerlessly, he has a stroke and dies.

Just like many of the things that happen to Huck, it's silly, exaggerated and melodramatic, but, unfortunately, not in any way unusual. Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.
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Reading Progress

August 18, 2017 – Started Reading
August 19, 2017 – Shelved
August 19, 2017 – Shelved as: swedish-norwegian-and-danish
August 19, 2017 – Shelved as: older-women-younger-men
August 19, 2017 – Shelved as: older-men-younger-women
August 19, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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notgettingenough I'm just hoping, if I ever see this, that it's in Swedish so I don't understand the words. It sounds utterly appalling even by Strindberg's standards.


Manny Hey, you might get your wish.


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 19, 2017 03:04PM) (new)

Quoting Twain, Manny wrote; "Human beings can be awful cruel to one another."

Sure enough. Then, immediately they are sorry. The sorrow stays with them until they die; and just for a momentary inability to see the bigger picture.

Pretty dumb system. Isn't it? Whoever designed it, is no doubt a monster.


Manny But that's always the way; it don't make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just goes for him anyway. If I had a yaller dog that didn't know no more than a person's conscience does I would pison him. It takes up more room than all the rest of a person's insides, and yet ain't no good, nohow. Tom Sawyer he says the same.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Yessir. Twain was the US best. So much time has passed without another, much of what he said is lost. At least Steve Martin says so.


message 6: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Russell
“I dream, therefore I exist.”
― August Strindberg

I wonder what percentage of his dreams were pleasant dreams.


message 7: by Manny (last edited Aug 20, 2017 08:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manny I have the Lagercrantz biography of Strindberg on the shelf. Was planning to read it soon... people tell me it's very good. In Konsten att läsa och skriva, he says the real Strindberg was not as much like the book-Strindberg as people think.


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