Gustavs grabb

Gustavs grabb Gustav’s Boy

Memoir #

Gustav’s Boy is the intimate and courageous autobiography of renowned criminologist and critically acclaimed novelist Leif GW Persson. In this moving, self-exposing and entertaining book, Persson recounts his class journey from early childhood until today, just before his retirement from the National Police Board. Here, Leif GW Persson depicts his many roles and his journey from working class to the propertied, from the proletariat and the father’s blue-collar work to the abstract thinking of the academics, from the confined world of the scholars into the media publicity, from researcher to author, from expert to a household name.

Gustav’s Boy reveals the very sincere story of a man whose life has been characterized by restlessness, curiosity and success but also setback and betrayal.


  • “Stylistically speaking, Gustav’s Boy belongs to the best that [Leif GW Persson] has ever written. A self-exposing melancholic memoir that, not least in the portrait of the mother, makes me to associate to Jan Myrdals Barndom. /…/ Gustav’s Boy is a melancholic, at times hilarious, and soul-searching novel that gives many clues to his best-selling detective novels.”

    Norrköpings Tidningar, Sweden

  • “[Leif GW Persson] sure knows how to write, there’s no doubt about that /…/ Persson writes in his usual style but here the pages reek of vivid memories, of scents and events, of bitter defeat and raging desire. /…/ [Leif GW Persson] is extraordinarily talented. A real genius.”

    Helsingborgs Dagblad, Sweden

  • “Leif GW Persson’s story about his life and his journey through social divisions is a very dark tale. It also gives the clever criminologist, successful author and macho hunter a well-deserved depth. /…/ We follow a headstrong, varied and winding autobiographical path where the strength lies in the author’s courage to examine himself and his surroundings – it appears to be impressively honest. /…/ Gustav’s Boy is an intimate life journey, a courageous story about the pain in not always being able to take advantage of life and love they way you wish, about fighting with addiction and to dare to live even when life hits rock bottom. Again, the professor gets an A+.”

    Skånska Dagbladet, Sweden

  • “Leif GW Persson beautifully portrays what perhaps characterizes a class traveler the most: the feeling of alienation and the feeling of homelessness that exists side by side with another, opposite feeling, a feeling of being a world citizen and the experience to blend in anywhere, in any context, cultural and social.”

    Dagens Nyheter, Sweden

  • “As the clever crime writer he is, Leif GW Persson builds his autobiography with cliffhangers /…/ there are parts in the novel that burn. Especially the portrayal of the parents…”

    Sveriges Radio Kulturnytt, Sweden

  • “[This book] is very readable. Dense and sharp, vivid and difficult to put down once you have started. /…/ When Leif GW Persson depicts his formative years he does so with a fine laconic humor, he entertains and provokes.”

    Aftonbladet, Sweden

  • “Persson delivers a beautiful memoir of snide remarks, well-considered reflections and not least a tender father portrait… Gustav's Boy is an excellent memoir.”

    Weekendavisen, Denmark

  • “Persson's childhood and teenage memories elegantly come to life, and the portrait of his father Gustav is conveyed with warm tenderness.”

    Berlingske, Denmark

  • Gustav's Boy is a very personal story, but also the story of Sweden, which more than any other country patented the social democratic welfare state. Leif GW Persson is one of its most readable symptoms – here as in his crime novels.”

    Jyllands-Posten, Denmark

  • “A tremendously well-written, suspenseful and informative [class] travelogue. GW Persson is a very good storyteller. Humor, sarcasm and honesty is generously sprinkled across the pages, which makes it a pleasure to be in his universe. A biography that stands out!”

    Bogmagasinet, Denmark

Photo: Thron Ullberg Leif GW Persson
  • Memoir
Reading material

Swedish edition

Rights sold

Denmark, Modtryk

Germany, Btb

Norway, Cappelen Damm

Sweden, Albert Bonniers

More From Leif GW Persson



Fall of the Welfare State