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The Visit of the Royal Physician

by Per Olov Enquist

This is a story of two people in love, two people trying to change history, two people crushed by the forces of reaction. But it's also the story of an idea that could not be destroyed. I found this book immensely challenging - both irritating and enthralling at the same time. Its style ranges from documentary history through psychological analysis to dramatic reconstruction. The narrative lacks dramatic drive, but I felt that Enquist is trying to show that major events are infected by the mundane. For me, a very strange read indeed.

Extract

On January 15 they gathered in the rooms of the Dowager Queen; by then Guldberg had written out a series of arrest warrants, which the King would be forced to sign.

On the morning of January 16, the plans were reviewed again, several insignificant changes were added, and the decision was made to execute the coup the following night.

It would be a long night. First dinner. Then tea. After that the masked ball. Then the coup d'etat.

Parallels

Memoirs of a Byzantine Eunuch by Christopher Harris
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
 

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