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At time when young writers were looking for new forms of literary expression, Enquist settled for an investigative style, an attempt to reconstruct events reported to have happened but where the truth is often too inaccessible, the facts too complex to yield anything but ambiguous answers. It was a style that was to remain Enquist's literary trademark, characterising both his novels and his plays. - Contemporary World Authors, ed. by Tracy Chevalier, 1993
Per Olov Enquist was born on September 23rd, 1934 in Hjoggböle in the province of Västerbotten in northern Sweden. He studied at the University of Uppsala between 1955 and 1964. In 1961 he released his first novel "Kristallögat". His style of literary journalism is maybe comparable with Truman Capote or Norman Mailer.

He got his breakthrough with the critics as well as with the public in 1964, when "Magnetisörens femte vinter" (The Magnetist's Fifth Winter) appeared. Its plot revolves around a quacksalver impressing the people in an 18th century German town with Mesmerism. In 1966 he published "Hess", about Nazi leader Rudolf Hess' solo flight to England during World War II.

His next work, "Legionärerna" (The Legionnaires), released in 1968, was very controversial in Sweden. It deals with Sweden's decision to deport a number of Baltic soldiers who had fled to Sweden during the War to the Soviet Union. This book won Enquist the Nordic Council literary prize. It also included an open letter to Mao Zedong.
Talar jag om politik hamnar jag för eller senare i ett tillstånd av desperat cynism, som om dumheten och hyckleriet de senaste åren nått sådan höjder att bara reträtten ut ur politiken återsod. Jag är rädd för min cynism, för min motvilja, eftersom den tycks mig farlig och lättsinnig. - Per Olov Enquist, Legionärerna

(Speaking about politics I sooner or later end up in a state of desperate cynicism, which for the stupidity and hypocrisy in the last years reached such heights that only the retreat out of politics remained. I am scared of my cynicism, of my aversion, because it strikes me as dangerous and irresponsible.)
He lived in West Berlin for a time in 1970/1971, and, having been one of Sweden's best at high jump, worked as a sports journalist during the 1972 Olympic Summer Games in Munich. He published "Sekonden" in 1971 and "Katedralen i München in 1972. He went to UCLA in 1973 and started to write his most famous drama, "Tribadernas Natt" (The Night of the Tribades), about Sweden's national poet August Strindberg. It was released in 1975.

In the late seventies he moved to Copenhagen because his second wife worked there at the Royal Theatre. "Chez nous", named after a sex club in Stockholm, appeared in 1977, targeted high finance and sensationalist press, and promptly became the scandal of the season.

His next work was "Musikanternas uttåg" (The March of the Musicians) in 1978, about the labor conditions among timber workers in northern Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1985 he published "Nedstörtad ängel" (Downfall), which tries to explore the relationship between love and hate.

"Kapten Nemos bibliotek" (Captain Nemo's Library) from 1991, about mixed up babies in a hospital, was to be his last novel, but in 1999 he released "Livläkarens besök" (The Visit of the Royal Physician). It is the story of the rise and fall of the German doctor Johan Friedrich Struensee at the court of King Christian VII of Denmark. The book was a great success and won him the August Award.

Enquist has also written many other things, eg short stories, travel books, a detective novel, the script for the Jan Troell film Hamsun, and literature critics for a number of Swedish newspapers.

Source: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/enquist.htm

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