My 2nd review of Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson — A must-read love story for all genders, may leave you, as it did with me, musing for days. The 1st review was done in haste last night, almost at bedtime, and today I felt the need to write another review. So here it is!

 

 

”Wilful Disregard – a Novel about love” {”Egenmäktigt förfarande” in Swedish}

 

Random reflections of a protagonist: Ester Nilsson is clever, honest and straightforward, unconventional, and independently-minded. Ester’s outspoken manner might’ve frightened feeble-minded, vulnerable Hugo Rask, the antagonist – enough perhaps to turn him off. It’s no secret that many men can become uncomfortable with clever, sharp and confident women.

 

Following two sessions of passionate togetherness, Hugo Rask appears to distance himself emotionally and physically, with pretexts of one kind or another, mostly about his heavy workload. Perhaps he should have done the honourable thing and dumped her. But through his cowardice or indecisiveness, he keeps her hanging on, as it were, allowing Ester’s imagination to roam, which encourages her (or it might have been because of her love) to continue her pursuit with the hope of attaining his love.

 

The lovemaking seemed to have enhanced the hope for a fruition of mutual love. Hugo’s spineless manner of indifference does Ester an injustice. True, she is sharp and clever and honest, but she’s under the spell of love which disarms those admirable, personal qualities that might have rescued her from ”bad love.” For what follows isn’t to Ester’s advantage. However, there is much more to this love story. I have merely rendered a superficial description of the true nature of this love story – the heart of it I leave for the reader.

 

In this day and age, when members of both genders with similar tendencies/practices, Hugo gets the blame for being dishonourable following the act of intimacy with Ester – motivated perhaps by selfishness and disregard her feelings. It was obvious that Ester wanted to have a relationship.

 

But the fact that Hugo Rask’s dishonourable behaviour and Ester Nilsson’s unconventional mindset seems to me to be at odds – a disparity. But the spell of love or irony might have been intended – or simply that I missed the point.

 

Feminists condemned Hugo Rask for being dishonourable, presumably because of the two nights of intimacy, regarding his motivation as wilfully intended to mislead Ester of his true purpose – which might’ve well been the case.

 

And I’m in full agreement, for the condemnation appears to be about men of power and privileges and the abuse of the female gender committed at the hands of the male gender for centuries and still an ongoing reality – as with racism, for the sake of making a comparison.

 

On the other hand, what of Ester’s responsibility to herself? To walk away from the dysfunctional relationship and with dignity, I ’d have thought. But I refrain from revealing more than I have done.

 

And finally, perhaps needless to add, there are no guarantees for love. But that, of course, is for another novel about love. The book will leave the reader with much to muse on. The style makes for easy reading: clear and concise, with several of its sentences evoking many reflections of the eternal struggle between lovers and that ”thing called love” which seems to defy a definitive description. I highly recommend this novel.