This series of three novels follows characters whose trajectories cross, beginning with Willy Willy, released in 2017, Lars/Lasse in Loosh (2018) and a third, Taavi, in 2019.
Willy Willy follows geologist Willy after heat stroke in West Australia to recovery and short-lived romance in Sweden; Willy succumbs to an apparently random bolt of violence prefigured by his encounter with P Mack immediately before he suffers the stroke.
Loosh is a sarcastic name given by Willy to Lars, who works with him in Australia, where they have trouble with his name. Lars loses his parents early, and a cousin, with whom he is raised practically as twins, at only five. He is seduced by an aunt at twelve, and becomes a triste Casanova. The short period he works with Willy in Australia leads Willy to go to Sweden after he gets neural damage from heat stroke. Willy’s death triggers Lars/Loosh’s emigration to the oil fields of the US, where his fate entwines with that of a transgender Indian boy.
The third book is about Taavi, born 1883, who was part Lapp and was from Finland/Kola, and became an historian of oppressed native peoples, including Lapplanders and Australian aboriginals. The book is set as a research narrative by another historian attempting to piece together her biography across 80 years of wars, works and loves. Taavi meets Willy and Lasse only briefly but has profound impacts on each.
Geologist Willy is brought down by heat stroke in the Australian outback, right after encountering the bush memorial of P Mack, “killed by blacks, 1894”. He impetuously moves to temperate Sweden to recover an identity. He is a cheerful tourist amongst mostly immigrants until he comes up against sulky valkyrie Svea in a Dalarna idyll. After just one weekend with Svea he meets his end in street violence in Stockholm, which echoes the emblematic encounter with P Mack.
Taavi is, or was, an ancient mariner. Born in 1893, she witnessed and participated in the great wars in Finland with wavering borders and migratory pulses, and lived with and was historian of the Lapps of Finland and Kola (the Russian peninsula with modern capital Murmansk). As partisan, historian and spy, her Scandinavian story is patchy. At one time in World War I she was captured by a German raider ship (the Wolf) from a Norwegian trawler and held captive on board for months in the Pacific. In WW II she was held for a time in one of Stalin’s Kola gulag camps.
Loosh is Lars, affectionately Lasse, but Willy says he should be called Loosh since Australians have trouble pronouncing either, and also because it goes with his being a Casanova. Lasse loses his parents early in rural Sweden and is raised by his father’s family with a cousin to whom he is practically a twin. Åsa the twin dies in an accident at age five, leaving Lasse a hole in the heart. He is then raised more by his mother’s family in town. He is seduced by an aunt at age twelve, germinating a precocious sexuality in a melancholic personality. He partly displaces his angst into obsession with music, beginning on his grandmother’s harmonica.