2. Sjukdomen

2. Sjukdomen 2. Disease

Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves #2

They are a family of sorts: Paul, the biggest queen in town; Lars-Åke and Seppo; Reine of the tortured past; and Bengt, the beauty bound to one day grace the silver screen. Each year, they celebrate Christmas at Paul’s place, and that is where Benjamin and Rasmus meet and fall in love. They will come to give up everything for love.

They love one another desperately. The future is theirs.

Until the sickness comes to the city.

The gay plague. The new Black Death.

They are all so young. But one by one, they will leave this life.

Disease is the second installment in the critically lauded and decade-defining trilogy, Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves.


  • Cruel innocence. /…/ Jonas Gardell follows up beautifully with the second part in Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves trilogy. /…/ Here is an author who knows how to combine the harsh with the sentimental without ever hitting a discordant note.


    Jyllands-Posten, Denmark

  • “The exquisite tenderness with which Gardell depicts HIV-positive gays’ vulnerability, strength, unbending love and horrific fate before the advent of antiretroviral drugs, is astonishing.”


    QX, Sweden

  • “Deeper, more assured, sadder. /…/ I feel this second installment in Gardell’s trilogy to be even better and more earth-shattering than the first. /…/ He lays bare how intolerance, cruelty and prejudice grew rampant during a time we thought we were celebrating freedom and tolerance.”

    Göteborgs-Posten, Sweden

  • “Gardell’s ability to depict the unique vulnerability of a child is spot-on; like a narrow and remarkably effective knife, it evokes memories of the defenselessness most carry deep within. /…/ Now I’m waiting for the last part, and I can’t help but wish that I’d been able to read them all in one sitting.”

    Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden

  • “One of the most powerful and gripping works Jonas Gardell has ever written. /…/ It’s sad. It’s awful. It’s beautiful. And it’s mercilessly cruel.”

    Landskrona-Posten, Sweden

  • “Jonas Gardell has never been better. /…/ Gardell succeeds in combining the fate of the individual with the eagle-eyed and democratic gaze of the collective novel, fragility with weightiness. The whole is even bigger than the sum of the delicate branches of this intimate yet wide-scoped testimony.”

    Kristianstadsbladet, Sweden

  • “In this second installment, which focuses even more on the disease, Rasmus and Benjamin aren’t only more directly impacted by the HIV virus, but Jonas Gardell’s prose is so striking that the full emotional lash of the disease strikes the reader with unabated force. You cannot escape the emotional storm. /…/ Some parts were so intense in their stark sorrow that I had to put the book down for a few minutes to take a deep breath and wipe a tear from the corner of my eye before I could go on reading.”

    Skånskan, Sweden

  • “The shifts in pace are all the more striking and bigger, from the rush of fury to the quiet of beauty. It makes for a story that time and time again hits you like a punch to the gut, and I ended up huddled in a corner on my sofa, forgetting to breathe. What more can be said other than that this is great literature that ought to be read by all.”

    Folkbladet, Sweden

  • “Jonas Gardell’s suite of novels is highly current contemporary history, and above all, a story which captivates the reader.”

    Nerikes Allehanda, Sweden

  • “As in the first installment, Jonas Gardell masterfully combines his tale built on authentic testimonies with stinging social criticism. /…/ Literary-wise he pushes down hard on the sore spot that is our reason, and how it can move from a scientific and objective search for the truth, to land in verbal attacks weighed down by morals and subjectivity, directed at a specific affected group of ‘outcasts.’ What does fear do to us?”

    Upsala Nya Tidning, Sweden

  • “Part two of the series feels even more alive than part one.”

    Söderhamns-Kuriren, Sweden

  • “And so he touches our hearts again, homo and hetero, women and men, young and old. Not primarily because everything is true, but because of Gardell’s ability to bring individual fates to the fore, filling them with joy and pain, triumph and loss, love and sorrow. All those things that are part of life and become all the more sharply defined for the one being excluded.”

    Borlänge Tidning, Sweden

  • “A higher pace, forceful flow, and more shifts of perfective and jumps in time. /…/ Gardell is light as a feather in style and heavy on construction: The prose flows almost without resistance across the page. The imagery is clear, polarizing, full of dramatic climaxes.”

    Aftonbladet, Sweden

  • “Night approaches in Jonas Gardell’s passionate drama. /…/ In Disease he speaks in love and wrath, like a gifted pastor.”

    Sydsvenskan, Sweden

  • “A book that must be read.”


    Tidningen Vision, Sweden

  • “It’s quite the task to tell the story of the new ‘plague’ just as the threat had become clear and no cure was yet in sight; an author could easily loose themselves in sentimentality, darkness, agitation. Gardell’s complex dramaturgy and unbelievably vivid prose saves the work, steering it towards a compassionate warmth that doesn’t flinch from the tragedies of fate.”

    Tidningen kulturen, Sweden

Photo: Stellan Herner Jonas Gardell
  • Literary
Reading material

Swedish edition

English translation

Rights sold

Finland, Johnny Kniga

France, Gaia Editions

Netherlands, De Geus

Norway, Vigmostad & Bjørke

Sweden, Norstedts

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Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves