As most bloggers have a passion to write, I have picked the following novel to review, from one of Norway’s most popular authors, Karin Fossum, as it is a story that gives a window into an author’s life and their thinking processes. Reading this book, after having visited the town in which it was set, (Drammen, in Norway), was an added bonus that made the story come alive.
Genre – psychological suspense (Norwegian author)
A woman wakes one night to find someone in her room. She lies there in terrified silence, unable to move. The woman is an author and the man begs her to tell his story.
Initially, the reader may be a little confused with this unconventional approach in telling a story, as it is written from the perspective of a writer. At times, the boundary between the author in the story, and the main character, become a little blurred. The female author imagines the characters in her future book, to be standing in a queue outside her door, waiting to enter. One man gets sick of waiting and “jumps the queue,” appearing beside the story-teller’s bed one night, begging for her to tell his story. He can’t wait any longer, he tells her:
“There’s always someone ahead of me — I’m used to that. But I can’t bear it any longer. I’m exhausted. You have to tell my story now — you have to start this morning!”
And so she does. She creates his name, Alvar Eide and begins to tell his story: that of a shy, middle aged social misfit who lives on the fringe of society, seemingly content with his life working in an art gallery. Little does he know that a simple act of kindness will irrevocably change his well-ordered, but predictable, life. A young, thin, drug-addicted girl enters the gallery one day and instead of turfing her out, he offers her a cup of coffee. From then on, he is unwittingly drawn more into her world, while his, spirals out of control. Alvar Eide is a good man, but the vulnerabilities of living a sheltered life lead him to a situation, where he is not only taken advantage of, but also one he cannot control.
“BROKEN” is about vulnerability, control and the perils of good intentions. How much should we become involved in other people’s lives? Is there a personal cost? A suspenseful story rather than a mystery, Broken is a story set in the town of Drammen, Norway and explores issues such as control, emotions and destiny and the role these might have in shaping personality and experience. It is a really enjoyable read and I so liked the window into both the writer’s mind and her thinking processes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
If you liked this novel, Karin Fossum has a series of other stories, all set in Norway, with Inspector Konrad Sejer as the central character.
Drammen, is a town a little under an hour away from Oslo, the capital. For the tourist, it is worth a visit, not least because of the scenic lookout, called ‘Spiraltoppen’, (see pics attached) accessed by a road tunnel, constructed in 1961, that spirals six times around inside the mountain itself. Visitors can enjoy the view at 1650 metres, lunch at a restaurant, or stroll along the many forest walks and winter ski trails. Spiraltoppen also has an open air museum, with well-preserved examples of Norwegian cottages and farm buildings of yesteryear. If you visit in summer, Spiraltoppen comes alive with festivals of folk- dancing, music, traditional painting and craft, and if you are really lucky, you might even spot both moose and deer, enjoying the scenic countryside that you find here.
Here is what you see when you drive to the summit of Spiraltoppen:
Reading crime fiction always gives me something to ponder about.