Egenmäktigt förfarande won the August prize in 2013 and reviewers praised it to the skies. I can see why, and yet I didn’t like or enjoy the book at all.

Ester, a writer/journalist, falls head over heels in love with Hugo, a famous artist. He seems sort of interested and they meet casually a few times. But it soon becomes apparent to everyone but Ester that he’s just not that into her. She can’t let go and desperately interprets every little action of his, looking for signs of love. He on the other hand needs that feeling of being desired and keeps her hanging on, never quite saying no.

If Ester was a teenager, I might find this believable. But I just cannot swallow the idea that an intelligent, rational adult woman with no apparent psychological problems would suddenly become so naive and blind, and lose all of her critical thinking ability as well as her self-respect. This book makes no sense to me.

And its wallowing in Ester’s inability to think clearly became very predictable and quite annoying after a while. At first I could empathise with Ester to some extent. But as the story went on and nothing ever really changed, I felt that her emotional state was so far from what I could relate to that it didn’t engage me at all any more. I turned the pages faster and read less of each one.

The story is so very simple that the book isn’t really about the story but about how it is told. Even though it’s all about emotions and passion, it’s very dispassionately written. I never get close to Ester. We may hear the thoughts inside her head but we see them from the outside, laid out in order and clinically dissected. It’s passion as described in an essay, using the most carefully chosen clever and precise phrases, strung after each other just so. Passion from a distance, so you cannot actually feel it, only analyze it.

A book for intellectuals to be impressed by, not for readers to enjoy.