Social realism and the paranormal in Scandinavian fiction

Olu Jenzen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter discusses the style of ‘paranormal social realism’ by situating two contemporary Scandinavian popular novels in relation to current critical debates on the paranormal in popular culture, and the Swedish tradition of proletarian, social realist literature. In a reading of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 vampire thriller Let the Right One In alongside the young adult novel The Circle by Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg (2011) – two texts that take as their central concern a critique of the enduring myths of the welfare state – the chapter explores how paranormal themes are employed to engage with the politics of the everyday, and the often poorly documented experiences of marginalised or precarious lives from within the realm of popular culture. It argues that the particular combination of witchcraft and psi abilities in The Circle and vampire lore in Let the Right One In– mixed with a distinctly realist tradition – makes these texts stand out as examples of an emerging new style of the popular paranormal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ashgate research companion to paranormal cultures
EditorsOlu Jenzen, Sally R. Munt
Place of PublicationBurlington
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781409444671
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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