A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding: Longlisted for the International Booker Prize

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6.0 X 9.2 X 1.6 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author

Amanda Svensson grew up in Malmö. She studied creative writing and has translated books by Ali Smith, Tessa Hadley, and Kristen Roupenian. A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding was awarded the Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize and the Svenska Dagbladet Literature Prize. It is shortlisted for Tidningen Vi's Literature Prize.

Nichola Smalley is a translator of Swedish and
Norwegian literature. Her translation of Andrzej Tichý's novel Wretchedness
won the 2021 Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize, and was longlisted for the 2021
International Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2021 Bernard Shaw Prize.


"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

"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

"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?"
--Michael Callahan, The New York Times

"Global in scope, Amanda Svensson's hefty novel boasts even heftier themes ... Because she's a novelist rather than a scientist, her discoveries are carefully planted; and, as you might expect of Ali Smith's Swedish translator, she is playfully experimental ... For a novel largely concerned with dysfunction, depression and existential despair, A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding is surprisingly funny ... Svensson's riddling magnum opus is eerily enjoyable."
--Suzi Feay, The Guardian

"A wild 529-page trip ... magnificent."
--The Telegraph

"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

"Svensson writes beautifully ... it's a pleasure simply to follow along."
--M.A Orthofer, The Complete Review

"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

"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."

"Big, playful, and very strange."
--London Review Bookshop

"In her new novel Amanda Svensson portrays with both sincerity and humor, 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

"This is a classic family tale in a large format, which may recall both Thomas Mann and Zadie Smith, but it also has the intellectual mystery's intricate and ambitious trait, a la Marisha Pessl or Donna Tartt. Svensson adds art and science, literature and politics into her 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."

"There is such an enormous amount of energy and vitality in Amanda Svensson's prose, an energy that is instantly recognizable 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."

"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."

"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

"[A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding] is joyous and funny."
--ANZ LitLovers