Swedish novelist Egor Falastrom has always been refreshingly open about the semi-autobiographical nature of his novels, although he insists that his fiction ‘contains little that is, and a lot of what could have been’. This confuses his family and friends, who search his books for portraits of themselves, or for descriptions of situations they shared with the writer. ‘They often come across things that look familiar,’ he says, ‘but fly off in unexpected, frequently negative directions. What they can’t seem to understand is that these directions have nothing to do with them. They don’t represent my actual thoughts, or even my desires, necessarily. They aren’t symbolic realisations of my relationships with fellow human beings. They are just a projection of what could have happened, of what might have been, regardless of whether I want it or no’.
This represents a slight shift in Falastrom’s thinking. In the past he claimed that ‘no girl has ever turned me down. That is to say, most of them do, but I always get them in the end. I write them into my bed’. Now he appears to be backtracking. ‘I wouldn’t say I use fiction to get with girls I couldn’t get with in life. I’d simply say that I use fiction to explore a range of possibilities. Some of the girls I get with in my books I wouldn’t even want to get with in real life. Still, there’s no harm in, you know, taking a walk down that avenue. That’s the point, really. I fiddle with my life, in fiction – and there’s no real pattern to that fiddling, no pattern at all.’
Methinks he doth protest too much.