The book Eric is reading is Hjalmar Söderberg’s Den allvarsamma leken (The Serious Game.) Its description, according to Wikipedia:
The Serious Game (Swedish: Den allvarsamma leken) is a 1912 novel by Hjalmar Söderberg. It tells the story of a man and a woman who fall in love when young, and remain in love, but stay separated and marry others.
Two films based on the book were produced in 1945 and 1977.
The book was reviewed in Publishers Weekly in 2002: “Söderberg manifests a keen painterly eye for settings: Arvid and Lydia’s affair plays out against a backdrop of serene Stockholm parks, crowded newspaper offices full of workaholic journalists and the spare bedrooms where their trysts take place—and in each locale, the details offered are just enough to create a world of sensations. Feminist readers may take umbrage at the male domination of Arvid’s milieu—women get little or no air time, although they would seem to determine the course of the novel. Söderberg creates psychological suspense worthy of Dostoyevski, as Arvid’s internal moral conflicts achieve the gravity of physical pain.”
And an English Amazon description:
Sweden at the turn of the previous century. Arvid, an ambitious and well-educated young man, meets Lydia, the daughter of a landscape painter, during an idyllic summer vacation and falls in love. Lydia, however, has other suitors, and Arvid is frightened of being tied down by his emotions. Trapped inside loveless marriages of convenience, they struggle in later years to rekindle the promise of their romance with bitter and tragic results.
Hjalmar Soderberg, born in Stockholm, in 1869, was one Scandinavia’s leading modernist writers. The Serious Game is Sweden’s most celebrated and enduring love story.