A working class hero is something to be. But Oskar Johansson’s status as one is earned by unimaginable suffering.
Working to blast tunnels through the rock for a new railway line, he is the victim, in his early twenties, of a horrific life-changing accident. It is a miracle that he survives, and yet he does, disfigured but unbowed.
Despite his injuries, Johansson finds love and finds renewed purpose. As Sweden grows from a poor backwater to a rich nation, there are as many losers as there are winners, and Johansson throws his energies into fighting for their cause. And yet, when his own son grows up, he can’t resist the lure of a big house and flashy car, establishing his own business and, in Johansson’s eyes, betraying his own class.
Shaped by events such as the Vietnam War, the Hungarian uprising and the threat of nuclear war, The Rock Blaster is a deft portrayal, told through a fractured narrative, of one man’s fight for equality in the face of forces far beyond his control. As the first published novel of one of Europe’s most celebrated crime writers, it is also a fascinating insight into the social concerns that fuelled his later work.