Hash: A Novel
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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Review: HashUser Review - brooke weeks - Goodreads
Enjoyable short read. Interesting Swedish cultural aspects in the story. Read full review
Review: HashUser Review - Betsy - Goodreads
Very unusual read but I did enjoy it's quirkiness. I have learned that, as much as I love trying different international foods, I will not be eating "local hash". Read full review