Teratologen, Nikanor

Nikanor Teratologen is the pen name of Swedish author and translator Niclas Lundkvist, born in 1964. Mr. Lundkvist grew up in Kage in northeast Sweden and left high school at North Hammarskolan and at The Kaplan School in Skellefteå. It is known that he had read an A course in history at Umeå University and later dropped out of the B course after having submitted an essay on World War II, and that around 1992 he was a student at Lund University.

Mr. Lundqvist became popular in summer 1992 with his debut book Assisted Living whose Swedish title translates to Caring for the Elderly in the Upper Kage Valley. The novel is said to be notes left behind by Helge, an 11-year-old boy, in which he talks about his life in Hebbershålet in the Kage Valley with his grandfather and their sadomasochistic relationship. The narrative typically refers to rape, murder, other sexual atrocities, and philosophical conversation. Their conversations include numerous allusions to classical literature, Nazi ideology, and the esoteric.

Mr. Lundkvist says of the first novel’s genesis: “The reason I wrote it is to draw attention to the loveless society we live in, quiet and orderly on the surface, but predator-like and Satanic within. The novel was a way for me to cast out demons in general.”

English equivalents of the titles of his subsequent novels include Alienation in True Västerbotten (1998), Hebbershål’s Apocrypha (2003), and To Hate All Human Life (2009). In addition to fiction he has also published a book of aphorisms, magazine articles, and translated Friedrich Nietzsche from the German.

Kerri A. Pierce is a translator focusing on German, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, and Swedish. She is the translator of Lars Svendsen’s A Philosophy of Evil, Mela Hartwig’s Am I a Redundant Human Being?, Kjersti A. Skomsvold’s The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am, and other novels.

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Stieg Larsson may have believed Sweden was infected with sinister conspiracies, but Nikanor Teratologen fears the evildoers probably live openly right next door.