La Gazelle s’agenouille pour pleurer (Not sure if an English title is available).
OK, well I have to admit I dragged this book around for over a month like a cement ball chained to my ankle and was never able to connect with the stories or the story teller. I tried and I tried. I didn’t want to give up because I just love short stories and this seemed the ideal collection of shorts to get through easily enough. I just couldn’t find my way in the dark. Not sure what happened, it was like the old GPS systems we plugged into the cigarette lighter in our cars that kept recalculation and would send you on loops way out of the normal way to get you from point A to point B by going through XYZ. If you catch my drift.
So, to put it nicely I have nothing to say about this book so moving on…
Rue de la Tranchée / Battle Trench Avenue.
Hilariously neurotic or neurotically hilarious I am not sure which. On one hand it is light-hearted and amusing while at the same time it’s really dark and complex. The hero, or more like a very unlikely anti hero, is Matti a youngish Finn living near the capital who has recently lost his family and it turns out his entire universe. His wife left with their daughter to escape his erratic behaviour.
OK, that could describe practically any relationship; hello mirror, how ya doin?
Matti becomes obsessed with getting his family back and has to imagine how he can create the ideal environment to achieve this. He fixates on selling their apartment and buying a house (oh yeah, and he runs. A lot.) Sooo, the complexity of the situation is of course he doesn’t have enough money and real estate in the capital is expensive. Without giving details (I hate spoilers), he becomes a “soldier” who has fought a “war”, not WWII, or any other military conflict, but the war of the sexes; he must shed his lamb like personality and become a Wolf.
I am having a hard time describing the book in fact. It is cynical and amusing at the same time and I wonder if this is not the basis of Nordic humour; difficult to understand but funny in a tilted head scratching way. It only took me a couple days to read, always a good sign, and I liked it but I won’t give it all out endorsement. I may, at some future date, pick up another work by the same author to better understand his style, so he didn’t complete loose me! Half hearted endorsement anybody?
Ah well, let’s keep moving forward! Next up: Denmark!