Oh Sweden! Oh Israel! by Stephan Mendel-Enk

Oh Sweden! Oh Israel!

Stephan Mendel-Enk

A memoir style novella which tells the story of Jacob, his family and their Jewish community in Gothenburg. Each very short chapter disrupts the chronological narrative, interrupting events and memories from not just Jacob's childhood but also his wider family's lives. As such this interesting story is confusing and not very compelling although its evocation of everyday ordinariness and his relationships with his grandparents are poignant.


She couldn't sleep at night. She lay awake, in the blue bedroom, with her eyes sore from the street lights which shone in through the blinds, while her ears winced from the screeching of the dawn's first trams. She blamed herself. That's what you did as a mother. He had been sensitive even as a child. He had needed someone who understood him.
I directed the straw at the hollow craters of the ice cubes and sucked up the cola that had collected there. Mame placed a hand on either side of her cup. Her tea bag had lost its small paper tag and it floated just below the surface, trailing its white thread behind it. I wanted to ask her what had happened to Dad at work on the day that his colleague had called, but I couldn't think of a good way to phrase the question.
'He could have had anyone,' said Mame in a low voice. 'The entire congregation wanted him. He wouldn't listen to me. It was as if he was bewitched, Coybele. As if he was bewitched, I say.'

  • Simon and the Oaks by Marianne Fredriksson
  • What Ends by Andrew Ladd

Books with similar mood

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

Tiffany Baker

Haunted Ground

Erin Hart

This is Paradise

Will Eaves

Death in Pont-Aven

Jean-Luc Bannalec

Bitter-Sweet Harvest

Chan Ling Yap

The Main Cages

Philip Marsden

A Kind of Freedom

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Tell it to the Bees

Fiona Shaw

After Rain

William Trevor

A Little Stranger

Kate Pullinger

The Tea Lords

Hella S Haasse

The Cookbook Collector

Allegra Goodman

Voice of America

E C Osondu

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips

Disputed Land

Tim Pears

Luke and Jon

Robert Williams


Laura Beatty

The Final Bet

Abdelilah Hamdouchi


Phil Whitaker

The Broken Places

Susan Perabo

No Christian Grave

Edmund Power

Pears on a Willow Tree

Leslie Pietrzyk

The Happiest Days

Cressida Connolly

The Last of Us

Rob Ewing

First Spring Grass Fire

Rae Spoon

Double Negative

Ivan Vladislavic

The Light Between Oceans

M L Stedman

The Vintage and the Gleaning

Jeremy Chambers

Flight Behaviour

Barbara Kingsolver

Alice Bliss

Laura Harrington

Catching the Light

Karen Powell

The Snack Thief

Andrea Camilleri

Girls in Trouble

Caroline Leavitt

A Crying Shame

Renate Dorrestein

Speak the Truth, Laughing

Rose Zwi

Ghost MacIndoe

Jonathan Buckley

The Old Man Who Read Love Stories

Luis Sepulveda

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

Ann Weisgarber

This Time of Dying

Reina James

Wild Geese

Lara Harte

Cold Water

Gwendoline Riley

Upstairs in the Tent

Cynthia Rogerson

The Flight of the Maidens

Jane Gardam

The Poet's Wife

Judith Allnatt

The Sealwoman's Gift

Sally Magnussen

Days in the History of Silence

Merethe Lindstrom

The Burgess Boys

Elizabeth Strout

The Cairo House

Samia Serageldin