Wonderful Feels Like ThisSara Lövestam Laura Wideburg
2 November 2017
Published by Allen & Unwin
6 April 2017
Published by Allen & Unwin
What can a bullied teenager learn from an old man spending his days in a retirement home? For a start, she’ll learn that it ain’t got a thing, if it ain’t got that swing…
Passing by a retirement home on her way from yet another awful day at school, she hears a familiar song playing through an open window. An old man is playing her musical idol Povel Ramel – a quirky jazz musician from the 1940s – and it sparks a new stage of her life. The man’s name is Alvar and just like Steffi, he has a huge interest in music.
Before long he starts telling her his story. In his youth, as the Second World War tore across Europe, he travelled to Stockholm. Young, innocent and quite naive, Alvar began his life in the big city, struggling to become a famous jazz musician. Or at least someone who was in a band. Or at the very least someone who could dance the jitterbug and talk to girls.
Intrigued and inspired by Alvar’s story, Steffi spends more and more time at the retirement home, learning about jazz and forgetting about school. She begins to realize that she doesn’t have to be the Steffi other people know; instead, as Alvar did, she can recreate herself through music.
There is much naive charm to be found in this story of a young girl who finds both a new friend and the hope for a new life through her growing interest in jazz... this is a loving, quietly charming... portrayal of jazz as a music which salves the soul of a misfit, brings her friendship and a sense of camaraderie and connects the future with the past.
Glasgow Sunday Herald
Wonderful Feels Like This is a gifted and moving novel, elegantly translated from the Swedish... Lovestam can make difficult narrative feats look easy (the way she can sketch character so economically, using only a few telling brushstrokes, is especially engaging) and the sharply observed central relationship draws you into its poignancy and quiet heroism.
Sydney Morning Herald
Sensitive and deeply moving: outstanding.
Empathy, identity, and the transformative power of music bind this tale of an atypical friendship between a teenage outcast and a jazz musician.
Lövestam is a musical writer, with such an eye on language and storytelling that she can do almost anything she wants... She writes with the perfect pitch.Malin Persson Giolito
A well written, warm and cosy story about how unexpectedly you can find a friend when you most need one.Stefan Holm
I know of no writer who can make me so genuinely happy as Sara Lövestam does... And if I'm ever asked what is the best book I've ever read, I will definitely answer: Wonderful Feels Like This.Annika Koldenius