Hash: A Novel

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Overlook Press, 2004 - Fiction - 236 pages
1 Review
The main ingredients in the recipes for Swedish hash, a dish known among the peasants of remote northern villages for its delectability and restorative powers differ widely. The meats, offal, and grain that go into its preparation - an elaborate process of boiling, pickling, steaming and stewing - can range from the obscure to the dangerous and the results can be alternately emetic and sublime. The search for the most delicious dish of hash - the ultimate hash - forms the backbone of the blackly comic, marvelously innovative new novel from one of Sweden's most esteemed and best-selling authors.
In a small town where an epidemic of tuberculosis rages, two very different men arrive to a scene of suffering accepted by the inhabitants not with stoicism or as a test of fate, but almost with glee. Robert Maser is a traveling garment salesman whose accent and demeanor betray the fact that he is actually the fugitive Martin Bormann, the Nazi leader rumored to have slipped past Red Army lines during the fall of Berlin. He engages the local schoolteacher, Lars, on the bizarre quest to find the world's best hash, and together they wander the Swedish countryside, inviting themselves into peasant homes to sample a variety of humble family recipes. As their search becomes more impassioned, it becomes clear that their goal is much more than a culinary marvel, and that what they've really been seeking is the force of life that must present itself even in the darkest of times.
Their adventures are narrated in a faux-naif style by a 107-year-old newspaper reporter who was witness to the events as they occurred in 1947, and has waited for the right time to confront his own relationship to life and death, happiness and suffering, and the power of art to express life's ambiguities.

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User Review  - CBJames - LibraryThing

The least interesting thing about Hash by Torgny Lindgren is the plot. Plot within the plot actually. Mr. Lindgren's book Hash is about a man telling a story. The story he is telling rambles on about ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The continuity of the life force takes charmingly eccentric form in this latest from Swedish author Lindgren (The Way of the Serpent, 1998, etc.).Hash is a trunkful of interrelated stories set in 1947 ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Torgny Lindgren is widely hailed as one of the most prominent literary figures on the world scene today. He has been awarded the August Prize, the Swedish National Book Award, and the Nordic Prize, and his novels have been published in more than twenty-five languages. In 1991, Lindgren was elected to the Swedish Academy, the eighteen-member committee that selects the honorees for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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