Anton Svensson: The Father

*There are some potential spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk!


How does a child become a criminal?

Aged ten, Leo always looks out for his younger brothers Felix and Vincent, protecting them from anything: including their father, a man whose love came with a fury that would rip the family apart.

How does a father lose a son?

Fourteen years later, the brothers’ childhood loyalty is tested to the limit as they hold the country to ransom, becoming audacious criminals. None has broken the law before. All will be changed forever.

I really love reading novels that are based off of true events, hence my love of historical fiction. But I also love to read this in regards to crime, thrillers, and mysteries. It always intrigues me how these people managed to accomplish what they did and it brings a lot more clarity (I think) to the events when told from the perspective of someone privy to what happened.

The Father is a work of fiction told under the pseudonym Anton Svensson (a.k.a Anders Roslund and Stefan Thunberg) which tells the story of Thunberg’s family who became infamous in Sweden as their most notorious bank robbers. The Father fictionalises the characters and bases them off of Thunberg’s family whilst placing them into these scenarios that really did take place. It tells the tale of family, friendship, loyalty, betrayal and highlights how their upbringing made them into the people they became.

I’d first like to start off with the characters. Svensson (I will be using the pseudonym to encompass Roslund and Thunberg) brings personal emotion and understanding from reality and pours them into these fictional characters. When Leo, Felix, Vincent, and Ivan all interact in their various ways you can truly feel the family dynamics between them and understand the connection that binds them. You can feel the tension and suspense that runs through the family as they plan their next bank heist and when an outsider, such as Jasper, tries to screw everything up, they all come together and portray the true meaning of family and loyalty. Even in the end when everything goes tits up, they still stick together in their own ways. Two of the characters have the opportunity to run away and put distance between the acts taking place and their family, but family is so important to them that they still get themselves sent to jail. To me, The Father wasn’t just about the bank heists, but the characters as they bring so much to this novel to help truly bring it to life with all of their emotions pouring out of the page.

In general, I did enjoy the book. I did, however, find it at times to be quite slow in pace and almost long-winded in its approach to tell the backstory behind the family’s rise to infamy. Though it helped me to understand the characters far more by understanding their childhood and their family dynamics at that time, it slowed the narrative right down leaving it harder for me to keep focused on the book. However, it is clear that Svensson is able to write with feeling and emotion as discussed with the characters.


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