by Johannes Goransson on Jan.17, 2012
Assisted Living, by Nikanor Teratologen, was originally released in Sweden in 1992 under the title Äldreomsorgen i Övre Kågedalen (roughly translated: Caring for the Elderly in Upper Kage Valley). The book immediately caused an uproar, due in part to the book’s endless “Satanic” parade of rape, murder, sacrilege, bigotry, pedophilia, etc., but also the author’s use of a pseudonym, which led critics to accuse a wide array of major Swedish authors as the creator, including the now goofily popular Stieg Larsson. The result was not only instant-cult-classic and controversial bestselling status for the book, which later would be credited to the novelist Niclas Lundkvist, but also a slew of varying takes on the book’s content, both praising its wild innovations in the way of language and stylizing, and predictably defaming it for its utter lack of reverence, apology, or “humanity.”
I would just add a little background. Blake mentions that it reminds him of both Aase Berg and Dennis Cooper. That’s not a coincidence. Teratologen’s books are published by the press Vertigo, which is an awesome press run by Carl-Mikael Edenborg, who happened to have once been a member of Surealistgruppen in Stockholm, where Aase was a once a member, and he’s also published Dennis Cooper’s Frisk in translation. As with Aase, Edenborg’s aesthetics are very 19th century/Gothic-influenced – he publishes Lovecraft, de Sade, Bataille, Samuel Delany, Leiris etc.
(He also has a cafe in the Old Town of Stockholm in case you’re there.)