XXIV edition
9/14 December 2014


The Swede: torture meets the tsunami

"I had various ideas for books, but then the tsunami came along, with so many Swedish nationals among the missing. Many of them were dead, but others, perhaps, decided not to come home and invent new identities and new lives." This is how
Robert Karjel, the former fighter pilot, now lieutenant colonel in the Swedish Air Force, came to write the intricate story of The Already Dead, a publishing success story slated to become a TV series.

Karjel paired the theme of changing one’s identity and conveniently disappearing by taking advantage of a natural disaster with another hot-button issue, especially now, which 9/11 earlier brought to our attention: torture.

The plot line of
The Swede hinges on dual identities: individuals who offer protection, and others who seek it. The author himself has a double identity as a writer and a military officer; he is also half-Swedish and half-Estonian.

Sebastiano Triulzi, who moderated the talk, could hardly avoid asking Karjel about Julian Assange. "It’s not easy to give an unequivocal answer," Karjel replied. "On the one hand, he has revealed things of great importance. On the other, he should have been far more discreet, since his revelations have landed innocent people in trouble."