The Polyglot Lovers
Lina Wolff

The Polyglot Lovers

‘Do you have to stare like that?’ I asked.

‘Think about the actors in porn. They’ve got no problem showing themselves off.’

‘Think about when I broke your nose,’ I replied.

Ellinor is thirty-six. She wears soft black sweatpants and a Michelin Man jacket. She fights. Smart and unsentimental, she tries her hand at online dating, only to be stranded by a snowstorm with a literary critic. Cut to Max Lamas, an author who dreams of a polyglot lover, a woman who will understand him—in every tongue. His search takes him to Italy, where he befriends a marchesa whose old Roman family is on the brink of ruin. At the heart of this literary intrigue is a handwritten manuscript that leaves no one unaffected.

The Polyglot Lovers is a fiercely witty and nuanced contribution to feminism in the #metoo era. Pleasure is an elusive thing, love even more so.

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  • Her two novels The Polyglot Lovers and Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs have both been awarded PEN Translates awards by English PEN in recognition of their importance and the excellence of the translations.
  • Her debut novel Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs and its translator Frank Perry won the 2017 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize
  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before 13 November 2018, you would have received a first edition copy of The Polyglot Lovers – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
Print status: Upcoming
Author: Lina Wolff
Translator: Saskia Vogel
Original language: Swedish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date (UK): 2 May 2019
Publication date (US): 2 April 2019
ISBN: 9781911508441
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508458
Availability: World
Number of pages: 256


Elle (France)

‘From a Swedish lake to Italian aristocrats, Wolff is in full control of her surprises and mischievously mocks the male gaze.’

Le Figaro (France)

‘A singular novel, sometimes brutal, certainly merciless.’

Livres Hebdo (France)

‘The Polyglot Lovers is funny, intelligent and always surprising. Complex and human (all too human . . .), its characters are never the spokesperson for anything but themselves, and certainly not for Lina Wolff, who allows them to live and deal as best they can with their heavy solitude.’

L’Obs (France)

‘Strange and magnificent.’

NPO Radio 1 (Holland)

‘Wolff evokes human (power) relationships with skill and ingenuity.’

NRC (Holland)

‘Wolff knows how to convey the loneliness in and between lovers, which seems to come directly from how a man imagines a woman. [...] Let us imagine instead, Lina Wolff’s novel says, a new language for our desire for the other.’

Swedish Book Review

‘A magnificent novel: funny, clever, engaging and surprising. Its characters are complex, unpredictable and occasionally unlikeable, but never less than totally believable and deeply human.’

Kulturnytt, Sweden Radio

‘Dizzying . . . Lina Wolff has written a many-voiced, meandering, feminist, arresting and rather provocative novel.’

Svenska Dagbladet

‘It’s been a long time since I read something this unique, seething, wilful.’

Borås Tidning

‘What a novel! I’m totally charmed! I was completely absorbed by The Polyglot Lovers . . . it's really, really fabulous. Every sentence is great. [This] is a book to read and discover and read over and over again.’

Kristofer Folkhammar

‘Wolff has written a kind of blackened, heart-rending satire on gender roles, in which the tempo of the pacily inventive – and downright gorgeous – prose complicates, enlivens and plays with the eloquent lovers she’s taken it upon herself to portray.’


‘You know when a novel is so thrilling that you just don’t want it to end? That’s what it was like reading Lina Wolff’s third book The Polyglot Lovers. I had high expectations . . . and yet they were surpassed.’

Library Journal on Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs

‘Oddly compelling . . . a European postmodern novel steeped in alienation and ennui.’

Kirkus Reviews on Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs

‘The author demonstrates a marvellous command of language and creates characters with real depth, lending the book a sensual vibe and an acerbic wit that force its emotional truths to rise above the grunge of its hard-boiled setting. A poetic, unsentimental drama that offers a meditation on love in all its disparate forms.’

Sarah Perry on Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs
The Guardian

‘Wolff’s prose has a quality of “otherness” entirely in keeping with the surreal atmosphere of the novel. This strange, provocative debut sits well alongside the work of Roxane Gay, Katherine Angel, Maggie Nelson, Zoe Pilger and Miranda July . . . a cool, clever and fierce addition to the canon of modern feminist literature.’

Lucy Scholes on Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs
The Independent

‘A filmic offering . . . channelling the spirit of Pedro Almodóvar. A thoroughly invigorating novel.’