>> A bestseller in Sweden,
this offbeat, down-to-earth love story is refreshingly light to read and becomes slightly addictive.
[...]Complex, moody and bookish, Shrimp is a cappuccino-drinking, Lacan-discussing vegetarian with depressed, dysfunctional friends, while the rugged Benny is obsessed with farming and manure. She finds his farm filthy and full of embarrassing decor; he finds her gleaming white flat 'sanitised like a hospital ward where she's cooking some vegetable concoction that gives me wind'. Benny tells himself he needs a farmer's wife like that of his neighbour and so wonders, mischievously, whether 'science could transplant Shrimp's convoluted beige soul into Violet's plump bosom and hard-working hands'. But human qualities cannot be mixed like cattle feed. However, as Shrimp romantically puts it: 'Love makes others into doves, gazelles, cats, peacocks, but I - quivering, wet and transparent - am your jellyfish.' True, unsmooth love indeed."
- The Observer
>> In the mood for love lit
Why efforts to take romance out of its ghetto haven’t worked.
[...]The complicating factors in these books sometimes accentuate the conventional restrictions that do remain in place. A baby is meant to resolve the frustrated, chatty love story in Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti, but by the time one has reached that point, all the small problems the two protagonists have piled up between them have started to seem insurmountable, and it is a relief that one doesn’t have to stick around and find out how the fragile little family fares. Mazetti’s is a book unusually concerned, for a romance, with the quotidian workings of love; here it isn’t merely a feeling but a series of things you are willing, or not willing, to do for someone else. Though Shrimp does vanquish a love rival to get to Benny, the usual epic obstacles aren’t otherwise in evidence. We simply see how hard it is, in a pragmatic, mundane sense, for a relationship to work, and for people to communicate with one another out of their own petty isolations. When baby abruptly trumps all this at the end, it feels like an awkward jolt back into a quainter genre.[...]
- London Review of Books