Peter Sandström: Autumn Apples

Sweet love and bitter deception in a literary masterpiece.

Author: Peter Sandström
Finnish original: Laudatur
Publisher: Schildts & Söderströms, 2016
Number of pages: 225 pp.
Reading material: Swedish original, English sample, English synopsis

The middle-aged writer Peter remembers staying with his parents as a young man in the bewildering summer of 1988, when his father breaks his habit of every morning giving his mother a freshly picked rose.

Peter of today spends a lot of time in the laundry room, where he washes his family’s clothes and reads poetry. There is both tenderness and helplessness in the encounters with the grown-up children. The gap between them grows irrevocably, as they embark on lives of their own.

With loving attention Peter registers also traces in the house left by his wife Zebra. She is 49 years old and pregnant, and occasionally returns home from visiting “someone called Mäkinen”.

Sandström’s beautiful prose wraps small, realistic yet sometimes absurd details in the tender glow of melancholy and humor. Autumn Apples was nominated for Finland’s biggest literary prize Finlandia and awarded with the prestigious Runeberg Prize.

I would compare Peter Sandström to Karl Ove Knausgård, […] but sense of form thwarts the resemblance. Sandström possesses it, Knausgård does not.
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

In Peter Sandström’s glittering language, moods are captured with similes and associations. With almost archaic precision he portrays the various nuances, shifts and distractions of life. The result is a text to be savoured slowly. Definitely full marks for Autumn Apples. Read it and enjoy!
– National broadcasting company Svenska YLE

In Autumn Apples a middle-aged man seeks to find his place in life, remembering the past and taking his bearings in the present. There is no right answer, no straight path to follow, but Peter Sandström’s depiction of the man’s quest is an excellent read. His beautiful prose is spare, and with no unnecessary words he effortlessly takes minute details from those around him, refining them and letting them grow in scope.
– Östnyland newspaper

The movements between the trivial and the tragic are subtle and soon dissolve.”
– Vasabladet newspaper

Ultimately, Sandström’s well-balanced prose is a joy to read, […] producing a memorable novel that is both entertaining and sad, without striking a jarring note.”
– Åbo Underrättelser newspaper

Peter Sandström’s main character possesses a vast, intricate knowledge of his own family, an imperceptible attention to detail that is very much like love. […] In Autumn Apples, the author gives us an even deeper insight into the multi-layered ambivalences of his literary world.”
– Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper

Also available:
Love is a Tame Animal (2020)

About the author:
Peter Sandström