"No. Write a letter when I'm dead." Nine years after they met, Perola asks Ellen if he can write to her about what it meant to him. That was her response. The Metaphor Book, perhaps, is his. Perola, who is not so distinguishable from Enquist himself, lived in Vasterbotten in Sweden's far north. Ellen, a visitor from south of Stockholm rented a cottage there for a summer. He is 15. She is 51. The attraction is instant. Their ages palindromic. They lie down together on the knot-free pine floor. For Perola, sexuality was "like opening the innermost door to another person". It freed him from his religious upbringing and allowed him to become the writer he became, a titan of Swedish letters. This is the love story he never thought he would be able to write. And a distillation of the life and work of a great author, who owes it all to an encounter with an older woman on a knot-free pine floor.