A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding

longlisted for the International Booker Prize

Amanda Svensson author Nichola Smalley translator


Publisher:Scribe Publications

Published:9th Mar '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding cover


A joyful family saga about free will, forgiveness, and how we are all interconnected.

In October 1989, triplet babies are born into chaos in a Swedish hospital. Over two decades later, the siblings are scattered around the world, barely speaking. Sebastian is in London working for a mysterious scientific organisation and falling in love. Clara has travelled to Easter Island to join a doomsday cult. And the third triplet, Matilda, is in Sweden, practising being a stepmother. Then something happens that forces them to reunite. Their mother calls with worrying news: their father has gone missing and she has something to tell them, a twenty-five-year secret that will change all their lives …

'Playfully experimental' THE GUARDIAN
'Magnificent' THE TELEGRAPH

‘A wild 529-page trip … magnificent.’

-- Amber Medland * The Telegraph *

‘Playfully experimental … enjoyable … funny.’

-- Suzi Feay * The Guardian *

‘This is a prismatic, hilarious, and deeply intelligent novel overflowing with wisdom about the complexities of being alive — I read it ravenously, and with pen in hand.’

-- Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

‘With gorgeous prose and a wry wit, Amanda Svensson offers readers at once a novel of family, love affairs, the search for meaning, of grief and of sibling rivalry — of triplets with a twist.’

-- Donna Freitas, author of The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano

‘A brilliant vision of family and modern life, both as we know it and as it can only be imagined by one of Sweden’s finest writers — as translated by one of our finest translators, Nichola Smalley. A playful, tender, and funny gem.’

-- Saskia Vogel, author of Permission

‘Big, playful, and very strange.’

-- Gayle Lazda * London Review Bookshop *

‘In her new novel Amanda Svensson portrays with both sincerity and humour, how there is a system to the madness and a madness in the system. It is a winding work that establishes her among the great storytellers with a totally unique voice.’

-- Jury statement from the Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize

‘[W]ith a devoted passion for narration and a steadfast belief in the intrinsic value of fiction, Amanda Svensson portrays triplets Sebastian, Clara, and Matilda. The story of their lives in different corners of the world evolves into a supreme literary work, which expands the reader’s senses in the face of the possibilities of reality, just by being so unabashedly fictitious.’

-- Jury statement from the Tidningen Vi’s Literary Prize

‘[A] novel about serious contemporary issues such as climate and fear, but that also makes you smile.’

-- Jury statement from the Svenska Dagbladet Literary Prize

‘A verbose, kooky, surrealistic, and simply wonderful novel with major existential questions.’

* Svenska Dagbladet *

‘A classic family saga, which recalls Thomas Mann and Zadie Smith, but also has the intricacy and ambition of the intellectual mystery à la Marisha Pessl or Donna Tartt. Svensson pours art and science, literature, and politics into the brew, until she has achieved an entertaining bildungsroman that is far removed from the egocentric autofiction that is said to be dominating contemporary literature … Svensson carries out her almost perilously demanding literary project with a lightness that is impressive.’

* Expressen *

‘There is such an enormous amount of energy and vitality in Amanda Svensson’s prose, an energy that is instantly recognisable from her previous books. There is not a single stale sentence, not a single dull repetition or artificial response. She seamlessly moves between the novel’s different moods and she can be insanely funny without losing any of the fundamental sincerity.’

* Östersunds-Posten *

A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding is composed like a rich kind of symphony, with a diverse set of voices and places that together move from cacophony to harmony. This is a book that, to use the author’s own words, makes you feel alive.’

* Göteborgs-Posten *

‘The Freudian term unheimlich appears early in the novel, pre-empting the doubles and doublings, shadows and ghosts, recurring images and disappearing persons that haunt the book. It is oddly comforting that against such an uncanny backdrop the banalities and joys of the world continue — characters still fall in love, quarrel, sit in discomfort and make amends. The beauty of Svensson’s work is in this precise balance: she maintains compelling emotional resonance amid a truly wild and sprawling world. … A truly delightful study of the contours of family, the limits of free will, and the end of the world as we know it, A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding is expansive and expanding.’

-- Leah Jing McIntosh * The Saturday Paper *

‘Chaos and the search for order duel in Svensson’s intelligent debut.’

* Publishers Weekly *

‘In Amanda Svensson’s novel A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding, a shocking secret forces three siblings to reevaluate their places in their family and the world … A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding is a dynamic novel about methods of coping in a world where nothing is certain.’

* Foreword Reviews *

‘[A System So Magnificent] is joyous and funny.’

* ANZ LitLovers *

‘Svensson writes beautifully... it's a pleasure simply to follow along.’

* The Complete Review *

‘All families are dysfunctional, but some raise it to an art form, as Amanda Svensson so deftly outlines in her admirable novel A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding … While all of her main characters are deeply — really deeply — flawed, Amanda Svensson has you rooting for them through their highs and lows.’

* Book Page *

‘At the heart of Svensson’s tumultuous epic lies a perennial query: Are our lives simply random intersections of space and time, or are they part of a grand master plan of the universe, where we are all but cosmic marionettes and nothing is coincidence?’

* The New York Times *

‘Brilliant … a sprawling family epic exploring complex questions about the power of one’s mind and the impact of one’s choices … This sharp and expansive novel takes up love, loss, truth, and beauty and will challenge readers to decide if they agree when Matilda asserts: “We're all living in different worlds. It's up to each of us to decide what form that world takes”.’

* Shelf Awareness *

‘Amanda Svensson’s raucous, sprawling debut takes on the enigmas of our origins, riddles of human consciousness and animal cognition, doomsday cults, and the most bedevilling of mysteries — the minds and choices of our closest intimates.'

-- Jury statement from the International Booker Prize

  • Winner of Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize 2019 (Sweden)
  • Winner of Svenska Dagbladet’s Literature Prize 2019 (Sweden)
  • Short-listed for Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2023 (UK)
  • Short-listed for Tidningen Vi’s Literature Prize 2020 (Sweden)
  • Long-listed for International Booker Prize 2023 (UK)

ISBN: 9781914484872

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 32mm

Weight: unknown

544 pages