Julia is a Swedish expat who teaches English in Vienna. Her life consists mainly of working, nights out with a friend she dislikes and evenings in with her cat, Optimus. That is until she meets Ben one day on a park bench. He’s homeless, shoeless and doesn’t smell too good, but she agrees to meet him again and before she knows it they’re dating. But Julia and Ben are complete opposites and Julia never imagined she’d be in a relationship with someone like Ben.
I loved the fact that this book is set in Vienna, and has a different perspective in terms of its setting, culture and its characters. The interactions between Ben and Julia are often fun but I found Julia too judgemental and superior, especially in the final third of the book, in which she comes across as too condescending and hypocritical to be redeeming. I also didn’t really feel a sense of her developing as a person and found the finale rather underwhelming and unromantic. With its quirky characters and unconventional romance, I was hoping this story would blow me away but, sadly, it didn’t. (JC)
Based on her own real-life romance, Swedish YA author Emmy Abrahamson's debut adult novel, How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush, is about a woman who falls for a homeless guy. The summary says: "Love stinks. Or maybe it just needs a shower ...
Vienna: famous for Mozart, waltzes, and pastry; less famous for Julia, a Swedish transplant who spends her days teaching English to unemployed Austrians and her evenings watching Netflix with her cat or club hopping with a frenemy. An aspiring novelist, Julia's full of ideas for future bestsellers: A writer moves his family to a deserted hotel in the dead of winter and spirals into madness! A homely governess loves a brooding man whose crazy wife is locked up in the attic! Fine, so they've been done. Doesn't mean Julia won't find something original.
Then something original finds Julia - sits down next to her on a bench, as a matter of fact. Ben is handsome (under all that beard) and adventurous (leaps from small bridges in a single bound). He's also sexy as hell and planning to shuffle off to Berlin before things can get too serious. Oh, and Ben lives in a public park.
Thus begins a truth stranger than any fiction Julia might have imagined: a whirlwind relationship with a guy who shares her warped sense of humour and shakes up the just-okay existence she's been too lazy to change. Ben challenges her to break out; she challenges him to settle down. As weeks turn to months, Julia keeps telling herself that this is a chapter in her life, not the whole book. If she writes the ending, she can't get hurt. But what if the ending isn't hers to write?" How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush is out in January 2018.