Roll Up! Roll Up!
Roll Up! Roll Up! is set in three different places: New York, Berlin and Stockholm, during an era that has been written about many times: when the early 1930s utopian ideas are expressed in national socialism and racial ideologies. But it has never been told from this perspective: the four main characters are dwarves, as they said in those days.
In the beginning, we get to know Glauer and Ka, who work at the amusement park Luna Park on Coney Island in New York. It is brash and sparkling around the cheap entertainment: in the miniature town Liliputia the little people humiliate themselves in tasteless pranks, and in the house of incubators premature babies are displayed in their glass cases. Austrian Glauer is longing to return to the cultivated Europe, where he is hoping to fulfill his dream about directing a serious theatre company. And Ka wants to tag along so she can elude and forget about the degrading medical examinations she has been subjected to, where the secret about her sex has been exposed and is attracting scientific interest.
They get hired as Christmas elves on a boat crossing the Atlantic, and in the capitol of cabarets, Berlin, they meet Nelly with the back pain and Verner, the smallest man alive. But it is the year 1933, Hitler has seized power and euthanasia programs are starting up. Violence and fear urge them to continue their journey. In a group with other circus dwarves they reach Stockholm at the last minute. They have an invitation, and how could the amusement park with the beautiful name Gröna Lund (Green Grove) be anything but a haven?
Roll Up! Roll Up! is an upsetting novel. It tells the story about the vulnerability of constantly being looked at, and about shame. But maybe it is even more about friendship and the longing for a dignified life without classifications.
Skynda, kom och se
Albert Bonniers Förlag
Swedish manuscript (final)
Germany/Hoffman und Campe