A Best Young Adult Book of 2020 ― Kirkus Reviews
"Scandinavian noir meets YA in a jam-packed novel that’s part whodunit, part romance, part end-of-the-world narrative." ― Publishers Weekly
Probing the question How would you spend your last days if you knew exactly when they’d run out? The End is a taut and riveting pre-apocalyptic thriller underpinned with sharp social commentary, written by Swedish thriller master, Mats Strandberg.
Arctis Books - Do you remember how you came up with the concept for The End?
Mats Strandberg - I think it's a culmination of a lot of things, but mostly it came from my own feelings of existential dread about the climate crisis. I didn't want to write a dystopian novel, where people slowly burn to a crisp or starve to death. I wanted to write a book where the sun keeps rising every morning, the birds are still chirping, but everyone knows what's happening. The clock is ticking. Then what happens to society, to people, to relationships?
I immediately knew I wanted to write about young adults and teenagers, because it made all the big questions I wanted to ask even bigger. What is it like to know that your first love is also your last one? Do you want to spend the last hours with family or friends? How do you find the meaning of your life when you have hardly gotten to know yourself yet?
Arctis Books - Do you particularly identify with any of the characters?
Mats Strandberg - I Even though Lucinda's life is very different from mine, we share a lot of the same values. She is quite sarcastic, and uses gallow's humour to deal with how effed up the world is. She is constantly in awe of how stupid people can act when they're afraid, which I can definetely relate to. We should both be better at seeing the positive things that happen, and the good that people do - not to pretend everything is just fine, but to find some balance in our world view. Writing in the TellUs app is a way for her to try and do just that; To try and figure out what it means be a human being on this planet. And for me, writing books is the same thing.
Arctis Books - If you knew your time here on Earth was limited, what would you do first?
Mats Strandberg - I I always think that relationships are more important than anything, but in a situation like The End, we would be forced to "live in the moment", all of us. No use in planning for or worrying about the future. So I would absolutely try and spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. And take long walks by myself in the woods. I'm not religious at all, but that is where I feel connected to something bigger than myself.
Arctis Books - This is a particularly eerie read as the Covid19 pandemic - just like Foxworth - is affecting every country. I know Sweden has dealt with the virus differently than the USA, but how have things changed in Stockholm?
Mats Strandberg - In so many ways, and I'm sure in ways that we don't even know yet. I miss hugging my friends more than anything. Sweden is a dark and cold place half the year, and I'm worried about our mental health when we get to February. That being said, I'm so grateful to live in a country with free health care. I really hope we can learn something from these terrible times – and not let our fear make us stupid.