The Father by Anton Svensson

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The Father by Anton Svensson is a tense, atmospheric tale of a violent dysfunctional family. Based on the bank robberies that took Sweden by storm, this tale is actually written by the younger brother of the actual thieves. A semi-autobiographical story of the impact of an abusive and overbearing father upon his three sons and their need to be more than their father ever was; turning them into notorious criminals.

Though it was a terrific crime thriller, The Father also tells the story of an abusive and drunken father whose actions shape the early years of a group of three brothers.

The story centers around three brothers and their childhood friend who go on to become the most notorious bank robbers Sweden has ever seen. The older brother Leo is the mastermind behind the robberies and though he can plan and execute daring bank robberies down to the second, his most challenging battle is within himself and his memory of his father. His brothers, Vincent and Felix, also have traumatic memories of thier father, but it is Leo who carries the most burden. The faithful night when their father tries to burn their mother’s parents home, it is Leo who is with him and when their father comes back from prison, all three brothers carry the guilt of letting him into their home where he tries to beat their mother to death in front of them.

The robberies are executed with military precision and the brothers and their childhood friend Jasper are elated. But a single bank robbery is not enough and soon Leo is planning even greater and grander schemes. The danger and thrill is escalated and the robbers risk even more.

The detective who is assigned to catch them has his own family drama that he is hiding himself from. He has a brother in prison for murdering their own father. A brother who had the courage to stop the man who was beating his mother and himself. A brother he pretends not to even know of.

For Leo and his brothers, the thrill and excitement of the bank robberies begins to wane and the tight group begins to unravel. Their childhood friend Jasper becomes jealous of the bond between the brothers but even that begins to shred as the specter of their father looms. Leo cannot help but to visit their father, even if it is only to flaunt his success in the old man’s face. His brothers, Vincent and Felix want nothing to do with their father and begin to distrust Leo for visiting them. Until finally Vincent and Felix decide to end their crime spree and seek some semblance of a normal life. Left alone, Leo must turn to the only other man he can trust to help him with his next daring robbery. Leo must ask the help of his own father.

Anton Svensson is a pen name for two separate authors, one of which is the youngest brother of the actual bank robbers. This book was a exercise in healing for him, but it didn’t detract in anyway from the actual storytelling. This is a long but very good book. The characters are terrifically well rounded and one can only imagine how much the brothers in the novel are like the real life brothers. This is a terrific tale of crime and family and the disintegration of both.

A really good read.

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