Anneli Furmark is one of [Sweden]’s finest cartoonists, and Drawn & Quarterly’s translation of Red Winter, her chronicle of love and politics, is a must-read... at once a universal story of human foibles and a fascinatingly specific time capsule from an area rarely chronicled in sequential art.Vulture
Political tensions flare as an adulterous romance blossoms in the heart of a barren, Swedish winter
The scene is late seventies Sweden: the four-decade-long reign of the once indestructible socio-democratic party has come to an end. Parties on the far left begin to mobilize, hoping to overcome the prevailing capitalist model on a national scale, but also in the streets, factories, and small towns to the North. This is where we meet Siv: a married mother of three employed by the youth sector of her local socio-democratic chapter. Without warning, Siv falls in love with a young Maoist, Ulrik, who recently arrived from the south of Sweden to militarize—and gain control—of the steelworkers union.
Anneli Furmark’s Red Winter weaves together the story of Siv, Ukrik, and the concentric circles of tension that slowly build around them, threatening to disintegrate her family’s foundation. Her three children look on, noticing a shift in their mother without fully understanding it. Siv and Ulrik drift through the season, musing on their actions, their politics, their love, and its inevitable consequences—while Furmark’s delicate hues of blue and orange heighten the cinematic qualities of northern Sweden’s isolated landscape. Red Winter is a tale of a love that haunts in the darkness of winter.
Translated from the Swedish by Hanna Stromberg.
Praise for Red Winter
A universally human tale, a recognizable struggle between the heart and familial obligations. Red Winter is a surprising bit of warmth on a cold night, a touching tale and one of the most compelling books of the year so far.Under the Radar
Guaranteed to be one of the most unusual graphic novels you’ve ever read. There’s political debate, social pressure, family tension and unorthodox romance, all surrounded by the darkness of a winter in 1970s Sweden. It’s also absorbing [with] insightful character work and high-quality sequential art.Toronto Star
[Anneli Furmark is] a wonderfully lyrical cartoonist. When Siv speaks of love, it’s akin to poetry; when Marita goes out to play, she enters the enchanted forest of her own imagination. Best of all, though, are her gorgeous watercolours, which utilise blue and orange – ice and fire – to such marvellous effect.The Guardian
[Red Winter] is heartbreaking and universal. This is another one where the art adds an entirely different component to the weight of the tale.The Awl
Furmark ... captures both how fundamentally simple and irreparably complicated human relationships can be. [Her] palette is an emotive canvas of complementary colors ... making readers care, on some level, about everyone who wanders in and out of her splendid panels.Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Furmark’s colors lie loosely on top of her pen lines, which have a good bit of wiggle to them, suggesting a lack of sunlight. When hints of red flood the sky, it feels like life and renewal are on the way, in contrast to the darkness of most scenes. Maybe that’s a political metaphor? Or maybe it’s just beautiful.Paste
A love story that takes place against the darkness of winter in 1970s Sweden. An affair between a mother of three and a young Communist bursts forth in hues of blue and orange.New York Times
[Red Winter] does a wonderful job of looking at life in Sweden through a compelling story line and engaging characters.Library Journal
Furmark is one of Sweden’s leading graphic novelists and Red Winter is a fine example of her talents, with its subtle, humorous exploration of emotional and political conflict played out in her scratchy, characterful art.Herald Scotland
Red Winter is like visual poetry.Comicsverse
The world may be full of fools and fanatics, Red Winter tells us, and wiser people so full of doubt, but in doubt there are riches – both frailty and wonder. This is a beautifully observed, and tenderly rendered, graphic novel.Bookmunch