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When you entered the world, it heralded hope, even for your future. You were born on a Saturday, in the bedroom at Kanalgatan 7 in the small Swedish town of Sibbhult, June 10th, 1950. Your mother had quit her job at the local factory shortly after your arrival, and your father worked as a turner, so money was scarce. But even so, the future was full of promise for a better life.

This is how the life story of Ingrid Birgitta Lundberg begins, narrated through the tender lens of her son, Patrik. Birgitta was born as the echoes of war were fading, greeting her with the promise of a bright future. Sweden was flourishing under a new welfare system, and poverty and starvation would soon be a memory long gone.

In these hopeful times, a humble worker’s daughter like Birgitta received an education for eight years, went to housewife school for one, and got an office job right after graduation. Birgitta could take control over her own life – saving up for a driver’s license, go to a dance when she felt like it, and find love on her own terms. Soon Birgitta lived the Swedish dream: a loving husband, two cherished children, a reliable Volvo and a villa. She trusted the welfare state to protect her.

Yet, the upheaval of the 1990’s financial crisis shattered this idyllic façade, ushering in divorce and stress and the promise of a bright future from the 1950’s quickly slipped through Birgitta’s fingers. Patrik, raised amidst these circumstances in the small town of Sölvesborg in Southern Sweden, pens Butterfly Road as a testament of his deep admiration for his mother, portraying their shared journey in a poignant, albeit painful prose. It stands not only as a tribute to their bond, but also as a stark portrayal of the impact of the Swedish class society and how it made its people crumble.

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“A portrait which strikes against the class society. […] Without a contestable and bright son, Birgitta Lundberg’s fate would still be unsung.”
Aftonbladet (SE)

“Lundberg excels in writing both personally and politically at once.”
Göteborgs-Posten (SE)

“Lundberg’s prose to the mother hits hard.”
Svenska Dagbladet (SE)

[…] a beautifully knitted story about a mother.”
Expressen (SE)

“The text is raw and striking.”
Sydsvenskan (SE)

“One of this autumn’s most important books.”
Smålandsposten (SE)

Butterfly Road is a primal, revealing page turner about class society, a slap which is delivered so politely and gracefully that one almost does not notice that the author is fighting.”
Blekinge Läns Tidning (SE)

[…] a warm, personal and tender letter from a son to a mother, and a sharp analysis of the society that killed her.”
Värmlands Dagblad (SE)

“A story that pierces one’s heart.”
Norrtelje Tidning (SE)

“An equally beautiful and important book about creating dreams and managing to hold on to the opportunity of affecting one’s life, even while being slowly weighed down.”
Nöjesguiden (SE)

“Patrik Lundberg can truly write. […] has an ability to turn the spotlight toward details, which in turn tell a bigger story of Sweden’s evolution from social people’s movement to a neoliberal welfare state.”

Paloma Agency is a boutique literary agency that represents Scandinavian writers at home and in the world.

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