To have a brand new city, means to rob it of any history. Every city had to have a start at some point but it is still strange to think of a completely new area, in a place where nothing was previously. Blackeberg is one such location.
The fact that it has no history to it makes it seem like a one dimensional place. There is nothing for children to even learn about the area in which they live. “At school, the children didn’t get to do any special projects on Blackeberg’s history because there wasn’t one. That is to say, there was something about an old mill. A tobacco king. Some strange old buildings down by the water. But that was a long time ago and without any connection to the present.” (Page 2). The way the city is described is even one dimensional. It seems like it could be any city, anywhere. There is nothing that makes it special, or makes it stand out. “There was a town center. There were spacious playgrounds allotted to children. Large green spaces around the corner. There were many pedestrian only walking paths.” (Page 2). The fact that there are no special features about this area makes it seem that it could really be anywhere. And that the events that happened here could happen anywhere.
It seems that Lindqvist is making a statement about how the modernity of a place is less than desirable. It robs a place of character. The fact that the events of this book happened here, instead of somewhere else, also makes a point on how a modern place is undesirable. “It explains in part how unprepared they were.” (Page2). It seems that the author is saying that because something is new, we as a society have a hard time believing that anything bad would happen there. However, this is never the case, because bad things happen everywhere, indiscriminately.
It seems worthwhile to note that Eli also seems without a past. She just appeared next door to Oskar one day, without even indication that she lived there. “Five surnames neatly spelled out in plastic letters. One live was empty. The name that had stood there before, HELLBERG, had been there so long you could real it from the dark contours left against a sun-bleached background. But no new letters, not even a note.” (Page 46). It’s interesting that we have two things without a past. The town, and Eli herself. We even know some of the past of Hakan, or at least a hint of it. “That was one of the things that had gone wrong in Norrkoping. Someone had remembered the brand name on the bag, and then the police had found it in the garbage container where he had tossed it, not far from their apartment.” (Page 12). However, instead of being one dimensional like the town, Eli is full of mystery. We want to know where she is from, what happened to her, her past, etc. The flat town seems a perfect setting for her character, as it makes her more mysterious than if it had been in a town rich with history.