Knutby The Congregation
Cell phones have just become a thing when Kristina Forsman and her husband Sindre move to Knutby, a small community in rural central Sweden. Sindre has been offered the job of pastor in the local free church by Eva Skoog, its charismatic leader figure. As Sindre revels in his new position, quickly making himself indispensable, Kristina finds herself perched on the edge of a lifestyle and community that want to swallow her whole. At the center of it all is Eva, gathering new members into her fold, lost souls who have been called to join the cause as the word spreads: Knutby will be the place where God’s secrets will be known. And, as Kristina herself will dream, where His Son shall take a human bride – Eva.
The Congregation is a tightly spun, small-scale epic of murder, unbridled greed and desire for power and sex, playing out over the course of seven years. Claustrophobic, it immerses the reader in the world of seemingly sensible people corralled into a twisted faith with the threat of isolation and shame. Cold-blooded, it portrays the perspectives of those willing to twist the word of their own god to suit their lusts. Before The Congregation comes to an end, two people will have died, and even more souls and psyches been torn asunder.
“A feverish maze of religious ecstasy and violence. /…/ Jonas Bonnier has written a novel about the Knutby drama. It’s a fast-paced and thrilling depiction. /…/ That such news would sooner or later become a novel is almost a given. And Jonas Bonnier, who two years ago turned the spectacular coup against a cash depot in Västberga into enjoyable and cultured crime fiction with The Helicopter Heist, must be the right author to do it. /…/ All of [the story] – murder by murder, all the way to the end scene with the police car – is narrated swiftly, skillfully, and often thrillingly. And almost consistently from a female perspective. /…/ It is empathetic and credible.”
“Jonas Bonnier succeeds in giving the people of the Knutby drama life in an entertaining and enlightening way. /…/ He makes his way behind the headlines and gives his readers the emotions, the inner monologues. /…/ The pastor of the free church, Helge Fossmo (here “Sindre Forsman”), may have been convicted, but in truth the whole congregation was complicit. Bonnier still manages to make the reader empathize with the members of the congregation. They appear to be so immersed in a fairytale world that they cannot see reality. Their individual fates really grab ahold of you in Bonnier’s novel.”
“The tragedy in Knutby is the stuff of novels: religion, power, sex, infidelity and murder are dreadful and occasionally unbelievable ingredients. In Jonas Bonnier’s novel it is dramatic, but also human. /…/ Suspenseful.”
“Jonas Bonnier drives the story forward with an unmatched craftsmanship. /…/ It’s extremely captivating and suspenseful.”
“The scariest [novel] of the month is without a doubt The Congregation by Jonas Bonnier. /…/ [The plot] plays out between just a few houses in Knutby. It is a universe of its own, ruled by a few chosen ones, and [a place] where a parishioner’s smallest doubt can lead to a round of brainwashing (and often sex, too, as a form of power exercise). The social control is extreme and every step you take is analyzed. /…/ It is also the contrasts which make Jonas Bonnier’s novel come alive. The perpetrators are perpetrators but are still given room to be complex.”
“Knutby – the story about what happened within and around the congregation in the Swedish countryside around the year 2000 was unimaginable to us. In this brilliant documentary novel, we are reminded of it once again. /…/ Bonnier writes incredibly well and the dialogue flows as if we were present in the room with the involved.”
- Jonas Bonnier
- Reading material
- Rights sold
Sweden, Albert Bonniers
- Film rights sold
Sweden, B-Reel Films