Snakes and Ladders
About the book
All her life, Eva has tended her roses, aware of the fact that her relationship with flowers is a good deal simpler than with her family…
When she’s given a diary on her 56th birthday, she starts writing at night about a world she has done everything to forget. Her anecdotes from the West Coast are soon overshadowed by stories of her childhood and youth and her beautiful but self-centred and complicated mother, whose behaviour made Eva’s formative years into a torment.
Already at the age of seven, Eva made a decision. She was going to be a survivor. When she falls in love with an English officer she believes for a short while that a reconciliation is possible. But a final reckoning with her mother is unavoidable in the end.
Forty years later, everything is almost lost because of an unfortunate coincidence. And the old wounds, like the rose bushes, are torn open once again.
Buster’s Ears is about love, trust and deceit. A strong and shocking story of a corrosive relationship and a bitter-sweet love story.
What other people have said
A positive review is always a pleasure. These ones made me really happy.
Maria Ernestam had a successful debut with her book ‘Caipirinha with Death’, a novel that also touches upon violent and macabre aspects. As a writer she seems intensely driven, with a stylistic and compositional self-assurance honed to near perfection. Nothing happens unless it has been carefully prepared. Even her surprise elements arrive with explicatory relief… There’s a cruelty here, yet also something liberating in reading about a girl who focuses her actions outwards rather than directing her violence inwards. It is often also rather amusing. …it does not surprise me at all to hear that the film rights to both books have been sold. DN
This is a vertiginous story, a psychological novel with a hint of thriller about it. …Maria Ernestam writes with a bizarre and macabre sense of humour that takes one’s breath away. This is a terrifying book about sorrow, anger and the road to death. At the same time it is terrifically funny! At nights I hear my manic chuckles echoing against the ceiling as I lie there reading. Ernestam’s language is like almost no other. It is poetical, brutal, dark and sparkling. Her stylistic components are woven together in an accomplished and unforced manner, without revealing the seams. Her psychological sharpness and ability to ‘read’ people is most likely very much like Eva’s: she sees, she understands – both tender and merciless. Upsala Nya Tidning
338 pages of psychological drama filled with power, relevance, and well written language properly composed and proportioned in its narrative development towards the beautiful and lethal climax! In this drama Ernestam has allied herself with some of the giants of Swedish letters. This is most clearly apparent in the mother-daughter theme, for which Bergman’s ‘Autumn Sonata’ is glimpsed as a literary model, while Strindberg makes an appearance in the depiction of Eva’s father, utterly at the mercy of his wife’s moody manipulations and incapable of protecting his daughter against the destructive mother. The question is whether there is not a debt owed to Selma Lagerlöf in Ernestam’s way of conveying her story in a relatively sober tone, stripped of all sentimental dross. The fact that these three giants hover over the text does not matter in the least, because Ernestam seasons everything with her own flavour and temperament. Politiken, Denmark
What at first seems to be a novel about the Swedish idyll, begins to develop an unexpected thriller tone. This woman’s novel about a ruined mother-daughter relationship is a gem. Above all the book punctures the well-known genre clichés. Die Welt, Germany