City as Male Domain: Missing Female Protagonists in Fictional Accounts of Malmö, Sweden
In reading novels set in the southern Swedish city of Malmö, you would be forgiven for thinking that men get most of the action. Writer Fredrik Ekelund bases all of his novels in the city but has never really described it from a female protagonist's perspective. He touches on it briefly in 'Nina och sundet', where the hero chases a female serial killer whom the reader gets to know and sympathise with. Björn Ranelid's fictionalised autobiography 'Till alla människor på jorden och i himlen' describes the city from a young boy's/man's perspective. 'Underdog', Torbjörn Flygt's popular August winning account of a boy's coming of age in Malmö, only hints at what life could have been like for the character's sister and mother at the time when he was out roaming the streets with his group of male friends. My paper will look at works set in Malmö where boys and men play the main parts and examine the possible reasons for this. Is there something about Malmö, or even about cities in general, that brings out contemporary male narrative but withholds female stories? With my own novel in progress about five female protagonists in Malmö I hope to fill some of this void by showing that girls and women have stories to tell about what it means to grow up and raise a family in an urban landscape.
Keywords: Contemporary Fiction, The City, Female Stories
Ms Anna Solding
PhD Candidate, Creative Writing Division, English Department, The University of Adelaide