“I’m going to stand here now. Do something about it if you can.”
Night Swallows Day is a story about Jakobsson, a bull of a man who moves from Finland to Sweden in the early 1970s and lives there for over three decades. He ends up supporting himself with shady jobs and is met with adversity more than once. Jakobsson is a man from the dark, a character who appears in Sahlberg’s praised Gothenburg trilogy (The Voice of Darkness, 2000; The Tracks of Twilight, 2002; The Return to the Dark, 2006). A parallel can be drawn between Jakobsson and the immortal Franz Biberkopf of Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz.
Night Swallows Day rolls forward with epic proportion and tells the story of immigrants in Sweden, but it could really take place in any country. An important role is played by the city of Gothenburg, its growth and development. The city is seen mostly through the eyes of the outcasts; their encounters and destinies born of these meetings are crucial. Historical figures also appear in the novel, such as the king of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus, Prime Minister Olof Palme and literary genius August Strindberg.