I read this book in Swedish when it first was released in 2016 and loved it! After seeing the Netflix series, I wanted to re-read it in English, to share with y’all. I’m so happy I did and that I loved it just as much the second time around as well.
Quicksand is a book about a mass shooting that has taken place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb. But, unlike most crime novels, this isn’t really a story that focuses on the actual crime. When the book starts, we already know that the shooting has happened and that eighteen-year-old Maja Norberg is charged for her involvement in the massacre that left her boyfriend and her best friend dead. So, the premises of the book are quite different. But the fact that we know that the crime has been committed, and even how, does not in any way make it any less intense.
In fact, it’s breathtakingly exciting! And so gripping. Instead of the crime, the story focuses on Maja and how she, a popular and privileged top student, came to be accused of murder. I was completely blown away by the way Malin Persson Giolito keeps the suspense even though the premise of the story is clear already from the start, the emotional depths of the characters and how she made me question my own instincts as to whether Maja was guilty or innocent.
Through flashbacks and Maja’s talks with her lawyer and the prison guards, the inescapable slow, dark, twisted way to perdition is revealed layer by layer. This is such a sad, gripping, story about broken kids, abuse and drugs. Money does not make you happy, that’s for sure.
This book was the winner of Sweden’s Best Crime Novel 2016 and I completely understand why. It’s a brilliant, breathtaking and insightful masterpiece! It’s written with fury and it tells a story about society at large and the consequences when teenagers are let down by the adults around them. When rich teenagers are left drifting, with only their peers to turn to. When fear of being left out of the circle of so called friends, make them sacrifice anything to belong. When wealth shadows all problems and the cry for help. When you have sunk too deep into the quicksand to get out, and what happens when you are so broken that you there is no point of return. Eventually, Malin Persson Giolito leaves us to draw our own conclusions about who is truly guilty of a crime. The truth of what really happened is hard to grip, it’s a different truth for all involved and in the end it comes down to interpretations and grey zones.
It’s a book that makes you question your own beliefs and that will stay with you for a long time. It’s upsetting in the best possible way, and I recommend it with all my heart!