In the Name of Love by Patrick Smith

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In the Name of Love by Patrick Smith

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Don't read the flyleaf and you will find a wonderful story about dislocation and loss
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: August 2015
Publisher: Head of Zeus
ISBN: 978-1781853139

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When Dan Byrne's wife died suddenly he took refuge on an island near Stockholm and worked quietly at home as a translator, needing little in the way of company. This changed only gradually and it was more that the world encroached on him, rather than Byrne seeking it out. A neighbour made contact when part of Byrne's roof collapsed and a friendly relationship developed, but the encounter which would have most impact on him began when a friend on the mainland asked him to go to the aide of a young woman stranded in a broken-down car. Lena Sundman was rude, dysfunctional and something of a nuisance to Dan, but somehow - against all the odds - the relationship persisted.

There is a special place in hell reserved for blurb writers who give away far too much of the plot and I've earmarked a spot as close as possible to the flames for whoever wrote the flyleaf of In the Name of Love. If you're thinking of reading then please don't even peep at the fly leaf as it will ruin your enjoyment of what is otherwise a brilliant book. You see, Something Happens and in the story we find out about it on page 287 of a book which ends on page 305. There is A Consequence, which we're told about on page 297, but both of these events are detailed on the flyleaf. If you have read the flyleaf you will read the book in the expectation that 'Something Happens' is imminent and you will wonder why it's taking so long. You will miss - or even be slightly annoyed by - a very special story.

If you haven't seen the flyleaf then you will read a haunting story about dislocation and loss. Dan Byrne is Irish, but he married a Swedish woman and Sweden is where his life is - but without the woman who made it essential. At a nearby farmhouse there are a family of Iraqi refugees. Initially they were welcomed into the community, but the Selavas seem frightened, not of what they have left, but of what might happen and they're reluctant to engage with the local people. Suspicions grow when it seems that the elderly owner of the farmhouse has left the property to the Selavas, rather than to Lena Sundman, who had been promised the property.

Author Patrick Smith is an Irishman who has spent most of his life as a translator in Sweden and it's the way in which he paints the archipelago which makes this book sing. He catches the nuances of an seemingly remote island so close to a capital city as well as the climate. You'll feel the cold and the snow of winter - and the risks which it brings - and enjoy the long summer days as well as the feeling of being a local when you don't wake up when the birds start singing at a ridiculously early hour.

But, it's Dan Byrne and Lena Sundman who will stay with me. It's an impressive debut from Patrick Smith and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

I've allocated another spot close to the fires of hell for the person who wrote the blurb on the back of The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser. Strangely enough, it's also the book I'd recommend if you've enjoyed In the Name of Love.

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Buy In the Name of Love by Patrick Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy In the Name of Love by Patrick Smith at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy In the Name of Love by Patrick Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy In the Name of Love by Patrick Smith at


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