Stars: ★★★★★

Author: Katarina von Bredow

Year: 1991

Country: Sweden

Genre: Drama



Is it allowed to have butterflies in your stomach when you look at your own brother? Even if he’s the most attractive and cutest boy all over the universe? Amanda and Ludvig are siblings and spent all their lives together. Between their big sister Ylva, who’s just a disguised monster, and their single mother, who works as a night nurse at a big hospital and doesn’t have so much time for them, they find their own truths and never keep secrets from each other. While Amanda paints one of her “cosmic chaos”, Ludvig is reading a book, acompaning each other, whatever they’re doing.

Everything changes when Amanda is sixteen and Ludvig seventeen years old.  Since their mother can’t pay Amanda’s painting classes Ludvig is her model and she paints him naked. Although she’s seen him at least a thousand times without clothes,  she finds it difficult to look at him without blushing and thinking how good-looking he is and how much better than all the other boys.

First Amanda doesn’t know how to handle it. What shall she tell Ludvig? The person who was always there for her and  the only one with whom she could talk about everything. Amanda doesn’t want to realize that she’s fallen for her own brother and tries to go out with other boys just to see that Ludvig is better than all of them. For months there’s no way for her to talk to anyone, she entrusts the situation to her diary, cries and writes more and more. Of course Ludvig notes that something is wrong and one day Amanda just kisses him. It becomes clear that Ludvig also feels more for his sister than he’s supposed to.

Ludvig and Amanda begin to have a secret relationship, but this isn’t easy. They’re caught between laws, ethics and the permanent fear of being discovered. Although they have ideas of escaping to South America, it’s a relationship without future, a relationship which people don’t understand. And there’s no way back, it’s impossible to be siblings again, to treat each other as though never happened anything.

I really LOVE this book and I read it at least a 100 times and I’m not tired of it. The story is so sad, because there isn’t a possibilty that they can have their happy ending. In addition Katarina von Bredow knows to write in a very good style to describe feelings and it’s easy to sympathise everything with Amanda. In my opinion the author breaks a big taboo with this topic, everyone just thinks that people who fall in love with someone of their family are ill, perverted and don’t see the human part of it.

Actually there’s a problem about this book: It still doesn’t exist in English. I really don’t understand why 😦 Well, I hope at least a few of you know Swedish, German, Norwegian or Dutch.  I hope there’ll be a translation to English and if not I’m going to translate it 😀


– Written by Jana Alice –


2 Responses to Syskonkärlek

  1. Pingback: Books – Syskonkärlek | Glutton for books, movies & series

  2. Lilastills says:

    “Syskonkärlek” is marketed as a “young adult” book, so I was truly surprised by the emotional depth and vivid descriptions contained therein. The empathy one feels for the characters says so much about the author’s ability to show the reader a different perspective on something that is so widely renounced as perverted. The narrative is personal, painful, sometimes humorous, and honest. Amanda and Ludvig are in an incestuous relationship – but the book is not “about” incest. It is about two young people in love, and the agony they suffer because they are forced apart by social convention. Perhaps the true value of this story lies in the questions it forces the reader to ask him or herself – about the basis of traditional values, the rights of the individual, and prejudice and intolerance. Although the futility of this relationship is made clear in the telling, the author passes no judgement. As the official abstract of this book says: “who is to say what is right and what is wrong?”

    English is my mother tongue and I am still learning Swedish, but I count myself fortunate that I was able to read this wonderfully written story. I cried buckets of tears, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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