The following is from Hanna Johansson’s Antiquity . Johansson is a Swedish writer and critic who writes on such topics as art, literature, and queer issues. Antiquity, her debut novel, won the 2021 Katapultpris and was short-listed for the Borås Tidning Debutant Prize. For three days on the square they’d been showing the world championships in harpoon fishing on a screen in front of the city hall. There was a stage for the competitors and a metal scaffolding that cast discs of sunlight on the functionaries as they bustled around in preparation for the evening. Day after day, the same order of events, like a ritual. There were white tents, tall tables, sponsor champagne and mineral water; there were loudspeakers and a winners’ stand; there were lanterns being lit. When the sun came down, sailboats anchored in the harbor, and the men came with their sons. The men with taut stomachs and sunglasses atop their heads, the sons with bony knees, ruddy cheeks, thick hair, sad eyes. These were wealthy teens, dressed in sweatshirts and baggy swim trunks. They were well-mannered and bored. A vacation memory added to many others, to recollections of beach toys in white nets, Coca-Cola with slices of lemon and ice, calamari, french fries, seasickness, the brown bottle of Piz Buin sunscreen and the green bottle of aloe vera that came after. The men took great interest in the events. The blue rectangle beneath the palm trees, the underwater footage, the fish weighed on the stage. The competition itself was underway elsewhere on the island, in the sea that lapped the rough beaches. On film the divers resembled gods with their harpoons and fit bodies, the wetsuits that made them smooth, nonhuman. They shone their flashlights into the underwater caves, making them look like crypts full of gold and precious stones. The sons slouched listlessly over the tables. They took off, leaving their fathers; they bled onto the square, where they drifted around looking like they could use something to lean on; the handlebars of a bike, a fence outside of a school. They flung […]

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