Alan Harrison is mourning the death of his wife. A trip to Sweden is in the offing - but will it help him get over it?
Alan Harrison is a perfectly ordinary, middle-class, middle-aged and happily married man. But when his wife, Susan, suddenly dies, his life starts to disintegrate. Rather than stay at home where the memory of his wife still haunts him, he decides to spend the summer in Sweden at the invitation of his in-laws.
On the shores of Lake Malaren, he discovers fresh reasons for living and a contentment he had not previously thought possible. But unexpected guests arrive to disturb his new-found peace and he is forced to take unprecedented steps to recover it.
Set against a backdrop of stunning Swedish scenery, MALAREN shows us the redemptive power of physical labour and male bonding as an unlikely hero struggles to overcome his challenges.
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I was particularly keen to read N.E. David's novel "Malaren", as I had spent many a summer in the Swedish countryside. The description of a typical Swedish country retreat was very accurate, both with the cabin,the outhouses, the boats and the jetty. As with the personalities they made me giggle, as I certainly have come across most of those types: The quiet Swede, the drunk Swede, the flirtatious Swede and the persistent home-maker. I would recommend this book to everyone but particularly to those who have connections to Sweden or are planning a visit in the near future. I found the story compelling and a real pageturner. ~ Gun Hammar, Amazon
Having read "Birds of the Nile" I wasn't sure what to expect from "Malaren" (not my usual gory thriller) but I enjoyed it from the first chapter, in fact it kept me awake until 1.00am as I kept reading "just one more chapter before I turn out the light". It was very well written and conjured up the peace and quiet of living in the Swedish countryside. I wish it had been longer to find out how Alan's life evolved when he returned home. ~ Sheila Mason, Amazon
Death is often portrayed by authors as an ending. And for the poor person who ends up six foot under it is. But for people who knew - and perhaps loved - the person who died, death is not an ending but a new beginning. Perhaps a difficult beginning, too. It is this essential truth which lies at the heart of Nick David's new novel. David's genius as a writer is to illuminate how relationships are often founded on deep inner feelings, which sometimes even those who possess them don't recognise. Malaren opens with actuary Alan Harrison preparing for the funeral of his beloved wife Susan who has died too young. Within pages, we're introduced to a network of complex relationships such as Alan's children and in-laws - including the compulsory mother-in-law from hell. But just as you settle down to think this is going to be a redemptive long haul as Alan rebuilds his life, the story takes off in an unexpected direction. Alan is invited to Sweden, to stay with in-laws on the banks of Lake Malaren. It's hopefully not a spoiler to say that the pace of the plot quickens and that Alan turns into a person we'd never have expected from the opening pages. Nick's fluent writing style and apt ability to draw believable characters keep the pages - or in my case the screen refreshes - turning easily. The best Nick David yet. ~ Mr P F Bartram, Amazon
N. E. David does it again! A beautifully crafted observation of the complexities of the human spirit - N.E. David has amazing insight and that rare ability to translate feeling, observation and emotions to the page with riveting effect. For me, his characters are real; to the point that it is impossible not to identify with them - their trials, tribulations and successes, and sense of redemption is a draw which is impossible to resist. Great writing from a great writer - check out his previous works - the novella A Day At The Races, and his remarkable insight into the 'Arab Spring' in his novel Birds Of The Nile. I'm now going to read N.E. David's second novel The Burden - I missed that one, but I'm looking forward to another fascinating N.E. David story! ~ markorichards, Amazon
MALAREN - A SWEDISH AFFAIR is the third full length character-based novel by N. E. David. Focussing on the story of Alan Harrison, an actuary who finds himself stranded in the midst of grief after the death of his wife Susan, MALAREN features strong characters, emotive side themes and demonstrates how extreme situations can bring out actions most incongruous with our character. Up until the start of the novel, Alan had led a very safe, traditionalist lifestyle. Unable to cook beyond boiling an egg, his widowhood leaves him struggling with more than just sorrow until the clichéd mother-in-law arrives (or should that be monster-in-law?). However, after receiving an invitation to spend some time on the shores of Lake Mälaren, Sweden, Alan slowly finds himself discovering how a change of scenery and physical activity can bring mental healing. Sadly Alan’s newfound way of life is set not to last as his peace is disturbed by unwanted guests. Events that ensue reveal strength in times of crisis, the fragility of human emotion and the lengths to which we will go to afford our own protection. Beyond the main plot, there are a number of themes that are touched upon including desire, lust, manipulation and the role of women in relationships. Alan comes from a conventional background in which male and female roles are sharply divided and his narrative is certainly told from a male perspective. His talk of 'blue' and 'pink' household duties and his attitude towards the women he interacts with reinforce this. Although Katerina is Swedish, her predictable address to Don and Alan of ‘boys’ speaks of more than just a lack of command of the English language. The characters are simple, stereotypical and sometimes shallow in nature. However, it is the interaction between them that produces the fireworks. With lessons in keeping your friends close but your enemies closer, and how not to act when a guest at someone else’s house, MALAREN keeps you entertained with the bizarre ways humans protect their true selves. No more so than at the very end, of the novel where Alan’s behaviour could be construed as securing his own interests. Methodically written, MALAREN is an enjoyable read. It is published by Roundfire to the same high quality as THE BURDEN, with a front cover image that sets the scene for the action beautifully. ~ L Blythe, Amazon
This is a well written and engaging book. I particularly enjoyed the developing relationship between Alan and Don as Alan very gradually comes to terms with the loss of his wife. Poignant, funny and totally believable. ~ maybelline, Amazon
I stumbled into Nick David quite by chance in Waterstones, Bradford. I hadn't selected a book and so with his recommendation, I bought a copy of his latest novel with little knowledge or expectation. As I started to read it became apparent that this was going to be an excellent book. The plot and characters are very believable; Nick is a good writer and the story just flows. I'd consumed the book in a week or so (given I'm the father of two small children, this is an indication of the draw of this tale!) I heartily recommend to anyone. It has people and the foibels of us fragile humans acutely observed; eloquently depicted. I'm very glad I bumped into him during his book tour! ~ Andy Ramsden, Amazon
A superbly crafted tale, charting the sorrow and redemption of Alan Harrison, widower and father, as he struggles to find meaning in life following the death of his beloved wife. NE DAVID has a deft touch for characterisation and has created a hero in Alan who the reader can root for, as well as a well drawn out supporting cast of characters such as Don and antagonist, Kurt. There is comedy interspersed with heartwarming moments as the story reaches a cliff-ending climax. Highly recommended. ~ Bob D, Amazon
And so to my third novel, MALAREN. Despite the morbid nature of its opening chapters, this is probably lighter in tone than either THE BURDEN or BIRDS OF THE NILE. Even so, it mirrors the two in terms of plot development, beginning with the formation of a relationship and culminating in dramatic action. Once again I'm seeking to express personality, this time in the shape of Alan Harrison. More akin to Michael Blake than Frank Johnson, in order to save himself from a desolate future Alan is forced to act apparently out of character. But do we ever really know someone until they're put under critical pressure? MALAREN hopefully offers us an answer. ~ N.E.David, An Introduction from the Author
In his third novel, N.E.David continues his exploration of the lives of individuals under stress in exceptional situations. The clarity of Nick’s writing makes his novels a joy to read and this is the best yet. Well crafted and totally compelling, there’s a real art to keeping the reader involved in this type of book, and in MALAREN he pulls it off with aplomb. ~ Alan Gillott, Amazon
A tale of loss, friendship, dark secrets and human vulnerability expertly weaved by the very talented N.E.David. The stupendous setting of Lake Malaren in Sweden makes this story even more enthralling. A must-read. ~ Daniela Norris, Endorsement
Nick David writes with compassion and wit. He weaves strong characterisation with superb imagery throughout the novel. The reader feels empathy for the protagonist, Alan Harrison, as he struggles to come to terms with the tragic death of his wife. The novel sizzles with unexpected events, including an epiphany that provokes the next step on Alan's life journey. ~ Cathie Devitt, Endorsement
Reading a novel by N.E.David is like receiving an invitation to dinner with new friends. His ease of writing is no accident as he skillfully draws us in to a gripping story enhanced by the tragedy and beauty of the Swedish landscape. An unforgettable read. ~ Steve Norris, Chair, York Writers Group
A moving and absorbing story of a man coming to terms with his grief. ~ Pamela Hartshorne, Endorsement
I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed Malaren. I picked it up on Saturday evening and finished it the day after. At the end of each chapter I always thought, let's just do one more. A thoroughly enjoyable read, I will now track down your other books. I hope you continue to write books far into the future. ~ Dan, Amazon
In his third novel, N.E.David continues his exploration of the lives of individuals under stress in exceptional situations. The clarity of Nick’s writing makes his novels a joy to read and this is the best yet. Well crafted and totally compelling, there’s a real art to keeping the reader involved in this type of book, and in MALAREN he pulls it off with aplomb. ~ Alan Gillott, writer and broadcaster
A tale of loss, friendship, dark secrets and human vulnerability expertly weaved by the very talented N.E.David. The stupendous setting of Lake Malaren in Sweden makes this story even more enthralling. A must-read. ~ Daniela Norris, author of Recognitions
Nick David writes with compassion and wit. He weaves strong characterisation with superb imagery throughout the novel. The reader feels empathy for the protagonist, Alan Harrison, as he struggles to come to terms with the tragic death of his wife. The novel sizzles with unexpected events, including an epiphany that provokes the next step on Alan's life journey. ~ Cathie Devitt, author of Don't Drink and Fly
Reading a novel by N.E.David is like receiving an invitation to dinner with new friends. His ease of writing is no accident as he skillfully draws us in to a gripping story enhanced by the tragedy and beauty of the Swedish landscape. An unforgettable read. ~ Steve Norris, Chair of York Writers Group
A moving and absorbing story of a man coming to terms with his grief. ~ Pamela Hartshorne, author of Time’s Echo and House of Shadows