"Destructive Interference" is a strong debut from Swedish writer Martin Skogsbeck. It combines elements of Proustian memoire, Scandinavian noir, and science fiction (or frontier science fact) into a gripping and memorable narrative that explores serious questions about the nature of love and of memory.
Skogsbeck tells his story in three parts. The first is set in Paris and comprises the memoire of Redan Palleago from his childhood to the point where he is recruited to Boston, Massachusetts to engage in leading edge research on the brain. The second section shifts to Sweden and into third person narration. Here we meet, Gustav, a young surgeon and amateur musician who becomes infatuated with Julia, an ambitious management consultant who does not quite reciprocate his love - or does she? Developments in their relationship lead to Gustav also moving to Boston. In the third section, Redan and Gustav meet - as was their destiny - and become involved in unauthorized neuroscientific experiments in which they themselves are the guinea pigs. Here, I was reminded of the movie, "Flatliners," though in "DI" the focus is on memories rather than the afterlife. Unintended consequences inevitably ensue.
Skogsbeck has done his homework. In addition to the science, which he handles with a light touch and which goes only slightly beyond what is being done today in such places as Southampton University, he provides the reader with rich tutorials on such subjects as Japanese Tea Ceremonies, tour skating, Swedish Medevac protocols, and Beethoven's First Piano Sonata. There are also playful literary allusions embedded in the text.
The ending of Destructive Interference is left open-ended - a perfect set-up for a sequel.
I'm so happy I stumbled over this new book because I loved reading Destructive Interference! It has all the ingredients of a great novel: passionate relationships (love and friendship), interesting and endearing characters, places and times one can really relate to. Furthermore, the language is a perfect mix between high literary quality and direct and honest prose. Finally, the topic is really interesting. I hadn't heard much of this phenomenon called 'destructive interference', so I also learned something, which is always nice!
Martin Skogsbeck is a name I will remember (I have a general crush on Swedish authors) and I'll definitely be on the lookout for his next book!
This is a wonderful book! It captures your imagination and before you know it, you can't put it down. For me, reading `Destructive Interference' was like listening to a good piece of music - I liked the tone of it which at times can be very moving but also witty and light-hearted. Skogsbeck is clearly equally at home in France, the US and Sweden. What he writes about the people living there is perceptive and often funny. Finally, the book gives fascinating glimpses into other worlds, like the Japanese tea ceremony and brain research.