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Kommentarar til boka: Simon Andrewes

27. des. 2013: Til Minne om Linda.

There are reasons to classify this novel under the category of Nordic Noir, although like any creative piece of work it does not fit seamlessly into the pre-existent genre. It defies categorisation and thus extends, expands, and develops the genre.

It is a worthy inheritor of the Nordic Noir tradition for the following reasons: It is a thriller, set in Norway, built around a series of nasty and brutal murders. In telling the story contemporary society is depicted realistically and vividly. This depiction is highly critical of the dominant social conditions and this criticism has sharply defined political implications. As a result a murky turbulence is revealed beneath the apparently placid and harmonic surface of the model social democratic Scandinavian countries.

It brings something new to the genre in its postmodernist ambiguity over the identity of the narrator of the events. It starts off with a seemingly traditional all-knowing, everywhere present narrator, whose narrative clarity suffers minor subversion from a parallel narrative provided by the blogger “Passenger 81”. In the end, it turns out that the fictive narrator is Halvor Rimfrost, a kind of “Roger Ackroyd” narrator, who is by no means the uninvolved observer of events he at first appears to be.

The fictive narrator is responsible for the killings, how directly or indirectly I won’t go into here. The uneasy or guilty conscious of the protagonist of Nordic Noir fiction is a familiar trait of the genre. Surprisingly here, at least to me, Rimfrost is very little troubled by his implicit guilt. He seems to go along with the verdict of the 13-year-old character who is the most unfortunate surviving victim of the crimes committed that “it was not his fault; it was the town’s fault”. 

The narrative ambiguity makes it impossible, again for me at least, to draw any conclusions about the novel’s narrative intention. Having confessed that he had written the novel to try to get a deeper understanding of the (what we might call) psychological profile of the town, Halvor Rimfrost concludes:

For a while I thought that the town was heading full steam into a sort of fascistic dictatorship of the majority, building on fear of minorities and concealed conspiracies. But then the wave receded and the town stood there as it always had done, apparently unchanged. But can it be that simple?

No, I don’t think so.

These last words are spoken by the detective who solved the case, the man who in the Nordic Noir tradition should have been the protagonist but here has been displaced to serve as the fictive narrator’s sort of alter ego.
Where does all this leave the real narrator Bjὄrn Enes? As an impressive story-teller who stands comfortably in the great tradition that, for me, goes back to Sjöwall & Wahlöö. 

Simon Andrewes er britisk frilansar, for tida busett i Eastborne, Sussex. Han lever i hovudsak av å undervise språk (spansk og engelsk). Han skriv bloggen "Personal and professional Developement"