Gustaf Hellström: Snörmakare Lekholm får en idé (Lacemaker Lekholm Has an Idea)


The latest addition to my website is Gustaf Hellström‘s Snörmakare Lekholm får en idé (Lacemaker Lekholm Has an Idea). This is Hellström’s only book translated into English and a very enjoyable book it is. It is a family saga of the Lekholm family, starting with Pehr Lekholm, a lacemaker who fought in the First Schleswig War, though his continual telling of his bravery has made him more a figure of ridicule than admiration. He tries to improve the status of his family but the debts of his younger brother, Oscar, who is nominally studying medicine but actually just drinking and having fun, and the loss of a lacemaking contract with his former regiment, plunge him into debt and mean the family’s status declines. The story actually starts with the return of his grandson, Kalle, from the United States, where he has lived for the past twenty years with no contact with his family, apparently for a crime he committed, about which we only learn towards the end of the book. We follow the story of Kalle’s son, Carl, who joins the army, Carl’s younger brother, Anders, the musician, who also joins the army but is a drunk as well as being a moderately competent composer, and other family members. Kalle (now known as John Holmes) is worried about the reception he will receive, as the returning prodigal. It is a lively, witty and very enjoyable family saga, which, sadly, is long since out of print.

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