Friman's poetry is fearless. "The Book of the Rotten Daughter" is a living's look at the dead, an astonishing culmination of beautiful truths that the reader cannot look away from, like an articulate train-wreck on a snowbank. The language is immersive, standing its ground in the face of decay, illustrating a breathing metaphor between human life and the processes of the Earth. "Cave hic poetae. Beware of poets who play with the dead."
It is both Friman's fearlessness and her talent in combining metaphor and absolute realism that make her an unforgettable writer. This collection is both a fantasy and a memoir, unashamed of its refusal to forgive or apologise, equally aware of the toughness and tenderness of being a mother, a daughter, and a living being existing in loneliness among other living beings. Friman ponders existential questions and small moments, often in the same breath, with a unique vantage and a perspective that is both fresh and centuries old.
I almost wish that I could find anything to complain about, but "The Book of the Rotten Daughter" far surpassed any expectations I might have had. This is easily one of the best collections I've read in quite a while, and matches the atmospheric presence that I strive to give my own writing. Friman's command of language and technique is unparalleled, beginning with the very first poem's (The Dream of the Rotten Daughter) use of enjambment in cleverly structured couplets.
I guarantee that I will find myself returning to this for reference later on, and am eager to read more of Friman's writing as soon as I can get my hands on it. I highly recommend any lovers of immersive, descriptive poetry do the same!