Fishing in Utopia : Sweden and the Future That Disappeared, Paperback

Fishing in Utopia : Sweden and the Future That Disappeared Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


From the 1960s to the 1980s, Sweden was an affluent, egalitarian country envied around the world.

Refugees were welcomed, even misfit young Englishmen could find a place there. Andrew Brown spent part of his childhood in Sweden during the 1960s.

In the 1970s he married a Swedish woman and worked in a timber mill raising their small son.

Fishing became his passion and his escape. In the mid-1980s his marriage and the country fell apart.

The Prime Minister was assassinated. The welfare system crumbled along with the industries that had supported it.

Twenty years later Andrew Brown travelled the length of Sweden in search of the country he had loved, and then hated, and now found he loved again.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Travel writing
  • ISBN: 9781847080813



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

i had contacts in Sweden in the 80's and although I admired Sweden at the time more than Mr Brown his description rings true. I didn't find it grumpy, his views are probably tempered by his own experiences and I quite liked the fact that he avoids being polemical and can admit that sometimes he was wrong. I thought the book illustrated the fact that you don't know what you've got till its gone. What Sweden retains is wilderness, though I skipped the fishing. I've just come back from a visit to the south (Wallender and Millenium country, I wonder if he has read recent Swedish detective fiction) but next time we will go north.

Review by

This book tells Andrew Brown's story of living in, and experiencing of, Sweden. It is also a book about fishing. An odd combination maybe, but an interesting one none the less. The book is warm, friendly, funny and moving. Sometimes it is all four of these at the same time. Brown takes us from intimate details about his personal life in southern Sweden through sojourns up to the very northernmost points of the country. In these respects, 'Fishing in Utopia' is a joy to read.But.I have problems with this book. I have problems with understanding Andrew Brown. I also have a problem with all the fish.You see, I had expectations with this book. I have my own relationship with Sweden and the people there and, somehow, I wanted Brown to have the same. However, he seems too preoccupied with race and immigration for me. Its a red flag. He seems to me to be a man who struggles with changing nature of Sweden. He wants it to be like it was in the past, even though he didn't seem to like it so much back then anyway. Hm. My experience of Sweden and of Swedish people is that it is a multicultural country which is proud to embrace all people, and that is what I love about it. Disappointingly, Brown does not seem share this sentiment and, for me, that spoiled the book. That and all the fish.As a side note, and I don't like to moan but, there were at least four typos in the version I got from the library. Come on people...

Review by

There were bits of this book that just made me go "aww" and call my mum and my brother to chat and reminisce and discuss - my grandparents lived in Nödinge and we all spent a lot of time in that part of Sweden when I was a kid (I grew up in Kungälv - the city of Club Hangover fame). I absolutely loved Brown's description of Sweden of the 70s and 80s and he is more right about the mood than he might even realize himself. OK, the fishing-bits appealed mainly to my brother who is a fly fisher, but I do recognize the landscape and the sounds and smells of my homeland. I may be biased since this is the time and place of my childhood and I concede that there is a slight inconsistency in the writing (and some typos: it's "Jantelagen," not "Jäntelagen"), but I really like this book - it will definitely be recommended to fellow Swedes. Also, Brown's comparing listening to nyckelharpor to watching pterodactyls mating was the best simile I've heard in a long time!