Day 19 – Karin Fossum
Often called the Norwegian Queen of Crime, Karin Fossum is undoubtedly my favourite, although she does have competition from the likes of other Scandinavian writers.
I have read all but two of her 13 books that have been translated to English, most of them featuring the strong and dependable Police detective Konrad Sejer. However, the latest translation: ‘I Can See in the Dark’, offers a first person crime fiction story narrated by the perpetrator, and is not part of the Sejer series.
Not everyone will love Fossum’s books, even some Norwegians I know, don’t like her writing, but don’t let that stop you. It is presumably because Fossum’s characters are those who live on the fringe of society: They are troubled souls, who don’t always feel they ‘fit in’ to society – sometimes they are the victim, sometimes the perpetrator and sometimes, the ones left to cope with the consequences of the crime. They may have a mental illness, or a borderline personality disorder, or disability, or they may just be lonely, but it is this quirkiness that makes them interesting.
I have not really thought too much about why these books appeal to me, but Karin writes in such a way as to enlicit empathy for the poor devils in the story. And, I also like the meticulous way her detective, Sejer identifies the culprit. But Sejer isn’t always there. In the psychological suspense novel ‘Broken,’ (2006), Karin writes about characters within a story that come to life. But do they really come to life? Or, is this just another device, cleverly used by the author to tell a story? Click here to read my review of Broken. Opening a window into the mind of an author just shows Karin’s versatility as an author. As her characters often narrate the story, I feel this gives her the opportunity to discuss their intentions, motivation and attitudes more than other writing styles.
In Elskede Poona (translation title: The Indian Bride 2005) Fossum’s character is that of an older single man looking for a woman to keep him company. There is much in that novel that sticks in my mind, even today. It was a tragedy from many angles, and interestingly has an American translation from 2008.
The plot lines hold my attention, and the books are crafted stories, not overly long or complicated.Every word Fossum uses is important, sometimes right down to the very last sentence!
Finally, I like that real towns and places in Norway are featured in Karin Fossum’s stories and that means I can visualize them better. ‘Broken’ was set in the Norwegian town of Drammen, one that I have visited several times.
If you like crime fiction: check out Karin Fossum
You can find the full list of her books here
I have just finished (I Can See in the Dark) where Karin draws on her real life experience working in a nursing home to add authenticity to the plot.
Day 20 – Favourite Childhood Book
Something to Ponder About