Book review: Postilla by Tage Danielsson (1965), from Tage Danielssons Paket (Wahlström & Widstrand, 1992)
Postilla is a collection of 52 sermons, one for each Sunday. The thought behind it is two-fold. For the first part, how come priests are the only ones who have to work on the day their own religion designates as the day of rest? For the second, since no one really goes to church any more, maybe more people would come if the sermons were held by common people, on topics that are of actual interest? Priests could always have their sermons on Saturdays instead, and so people would not need to blame people for not going to church, because, well, on Saturdays, people are busy shopping.
The sermons are about a lot of different things, but they’re normally just a page or two long. It’s the Sunday of Big Lies and a Sunday of Small Lies, for instance. A Sunday for every season, a Sunday of Stress, a Sunday of Abstinence, a Sunday of Curly Foreigners, and so on. Every single topic under the sun, pretty much, done in an amusing yet thought-provoking way.
While the language feels a bit dated and the people mentioned (previous Prime Ministers, for instance) are ones I can’t really relate to, being born nearly two decades after this book’s publication, some things are still highly valid even today. The stress thing, for instance. Perhaps even more on topic today than it was back then.
Postilla is the second book by Tage Danielsson that I’ve read over the past few days, the first one being Sagor för barn över 18 år, I find I have a new-found respect for the man. I’ve known him from radio and TV and films growing up, but never quite realised just how clever he actually was. No wonder the collection this book is a part of is still in print, nearly two decades after its first edition.
It’s social criticism, high level satire, cleverly disguised as 52 rants about society and the people that make it up. Bravo, Mr. Danielsson! May your words continue to live on – maybe we really should wrap them in plastic, as plastic (as the book says) never disappears. Although, the book was written in a time prior to biodegradable plastic. How times change.
3.5 out of 5 Sundays.