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review 2016-08-28 00:00
Supernaiivi
Supernaiivi - Erlend Loe,Outi Menna Supernaiivi - Erlend Loe,Outi Menna I've read this book many a time before, and it has yet to fail me. It's a simple book on the surface, but for me it's a way to climb out of a hole whenever existing gets to be a bit too much. It's not a magic cure, but it makes life tolerable again.
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review 2015-09-18 00:00
Lazy Days
Lazy Days - Erlend Loe,Don Bartlett http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/129350768253/lazy-days-by-erlend-loe

The title of this superb little tale should have remained and contained both the words Mixing Part. The title Lazy Days is unjust, inappropriate, and mediocre for a book this good and honest to the core. From the opening pages one can easily discern what I mean by this as the English translation for the German name of the town this family chooses to spend their holiday in is nothing less than tantalizing as it contains a humorously bad translation. Mixing Part Churches. It definitely set the tone for where the author meant to take me.

Having already raised a family of my own certainly helped me to understand and appreciate the humor and seriousness of this brilliant work. All relationships are absurd, and the reasons we remain in them are often questionable. Some call it love, others an arrangement. I have always termed all marriage alliances as deals no matter how much love is involved. And often, throughout a long life, the deal changes. New negotiations must incur and new agreements for any hope for the continued “love affair” to thrive. Often in these processes, relationships become devoid of any passion, and often love exits to far-off reaches, and is nowhere in the vicinity of where it was supposed to endure the coming tribulations. In other words, sometimes our lives do become theater, and this is what this novel details.

I cannot imagine this book being enjoyed, or being of much use to anyone not already subjected to a long and accomplished relationship. If deceit and cowardly behavior signifies what a marriage can be, then this bit of work by Erlend Loe would be too much for those of us to bear. Plus it is not conventional in its style. It is basically all dialogue and the reader must discern at all times who is actually doing the talking. There is little help given the reader except for the supreme craft of Loe always present on the page. The questions and conversation he employs keep the action steadily moving. Everything on the page is connected, and skillfully executed. I had absolutely no trouble in following the dialogue. It was as if my wife and I were the ones who actually wrote this book. It was if my own kids were present on the page. I like to think our family might too have been, at times, interesting, and this book was actually one I should have written myself. But alas, I did not. It was Erlend Loe who performed this miracle. It appears Loe has additionally much more to offer his reading public, as he has never repeated anything in the three books translated into English that I have read thus far. He obviously borrows from his life and his varied interests in it. It seems every question regarding his life he attempts to face honestly on the page. And we are rewarded consistently by his efforts. The sharp and biting dialogue prepares us for the route his wandering plot portrays. The results are magnificent in their clever and exquisite development.

Having been confused from time to time over which direction my own life should take, and wondering if I ever could be the person I often imagined myself to be, it is refreshing to read of the same consternation the narrator Telemann has for his own life. By reviewing his own sexual fantasies happening outside his marriage bed it helps the reader to understand why Telemann’s wife Nina might actually stray herself from the so-called sanctity of marriage. After his wife’s Nina’s gift of a popular cookbook to him, Telemann obsesses daily over the author Nigella Lawson and her buxom body. Telemann extends his obsession to hating the art collector Charles Saatchi who she was presently married to. The concept that Life is always theater is not difficult to accept when confronted with it so aggressively as Loe is wont to do. By also involving the couple’s later attempt at viewing together the great seven and a half hour Hungarian film Sátántangó by Béla Tarr the absurdness grows amidst the reality of their creative adulteries. Having been myself subjected to this film twice already, the haunting soundtrack composed by Mihály Víg, by default, as well saturates the Loe narrative for me. Sátántangó was based on one of the great novels written by László Krasznahorkai, who is a regular collaborator in most Béla Tarr directed films.

Contrary to the mostly lukewarm reviews of Lazy Days, I found this title to be fresh and invigorating, and one of the best reads of the year so far for me.
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review 2013-10-05 01:53
Doppler by Erlend Loe
Doppler - Erlend; Bartlett, Don; Shaw, Don Loe

I have no idea to what extent these thoughts are rooted in reality. Nor if what we so boldly call reality exists at all. The only thing I can be fairly sure about is that the fire warms me and that a little moose by the name of Bongo lies at my feet purring, if that's what you call it when moose emit sounds of pleasure.

- Doppler

p. 100

 

 

Note: The review below is taken directly from my Goodreads account.

 

Doppler is about a Norwegian man, Doppler, who hits his head really hard in a cycling accident not too long after his father dies. Because of this, he comes to the decision that he doesn't like people/human beings/mankind and forsakes civilization to live in the forest, where he befriends a moose calf.

I don't really have much to say about the book. I think it was well-written (though I can never tell with translated works -- how much of the translator(s) leaks into the edition?) and the story was inventive and original. It's not something I expect publishers to be pushing and hyping, and that's what I like: it's such an out-of-the-ordinary book. Also, it's humourous and the interactions Doppler had with Bongo, the moose calf, and the people he met while living in the forest were a delight to read.

What drags my rating down is that I couldn't tell if Loe was purposefully making Doppler so naive and hypocritical, or if I'm just pulling this conclusion out of my ass. To me, Doppler abides by the rules he sees fit -- essentially, the opposite of what he believes society forces you to conform to. Where he sees society as trying to progress, he's trying to regress. The naivete is that Doppler thinks he can achieve this regression and that society will follow suit. Except, he depends upon society to provide him with things he can't live without: milk, axes, sugar, paint for his totem pole. He can't get these items on his own and if society went back to the hunter-gatherer/bartering days, then Doppler would be doomed because who would want to spend time making certain items if there would be no guaranteed return? Basically, Doppler's hypocrisy makes him a grievance to know although he (and Loe) makes some good philosophical points throughout about consumerism, ambiguous niceties, how we can easily instill our own dogmas and opinions into children at an early age, how we can't tell people straight to their faces what we dislike about them, etc.

(Another thing that brought my rating lower is the ending. I'm not a fan of the way things ended, though I know there's a sequel. I guess I'll have to check that out in the hopes that Doppler gets some sort of comeuppance.)

"I don't have much to say," as she writes a thick paragraph.

+1 for moose.

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review 2013-09-17 00:00
(You Will) Never Work Again: Work Less, Earn More & Live Your Freedom
(You Will) Never Work Again: Work Less, Earn More & Live Your Freedom - Erlend Bakke Erlend Bakke has assembled an inspiring book for entrepreneurs and anyone who is thinking of escaping the daily 9-5 grind. Along with insightful and in-depth tips on how to get started and whether entrepreneurship is right for you, Bakke has included tons of helpful ideas to get you motivated and keep you energized. This book makes it easier pursue your freedom goals in a realistic manner, while avoiding the commonly made mistakes along the way.

I really liked the exercises in here that are explained in detail, like meditation to increase your performance, as well as how to balance your work, family and desires without burning out and by following what comes naturally to you. I learned much about outsourcing as well, much of which I had no idea about before. ‘Never Work Again’ is a book that no budding entrepreneur should be without.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-06-18 21:58
Doppler - A Review

Doppler is a novel written by a Norwegian writer Erlend Loe. His writing is nothing complicated but it doesn't harm the outcome of the story, it is just pleasantly easy to read and also quite quick to read, which is something I appreciate from time to time.

 

 

Doppler, the narrator, is a man with a steady alright-paid job, a family and a life people consider enjoyable. He is very keen on riding a bicycle. One day he goes for a ride into the woods and he hits a rock, falls from his bike and experiences something that might be considered an enlightenment. Suddenly, Doppler detests people and society as a whole, and is appaled by consumerism and money. He decides the only way to solve what he is feeling is to move out into the forest. And so he does.

In the forest, living in a tent, he needs some food, as he has no money to buy any. He has been stealing from a man's house for a while but the man had noticed and locked his back door, naturally enough. So Doppler must kill an elk to get meat, with which he could nourish himself and which he could exchange for other things, like skimmed milk, for example. There is a baby elk with the one Doppler kills, and it just won't go away, no matter how hard Doppler tries to chase it off. In the end, the baby elk who gets a name Bongo, becomes Doppler's friend and they live happily in the forest, together.

Until one lovely day, people start liking the idea of living outside society, city and houses. People come to the forest and try to make friends with Doppler, which is something he doesn't like at all. After his son Gregus joins him in the tent outside the city, and lives with him for some time, Doppler, Bongo and Gregus prepare for a journey to some other forest, bigger forest, their forest.. and there is a to be continued sentence at the end of the book. So perhaps, we will get another story of Doppler and his baby elk.

 

 

This book caught my eye merely because of the cover. I haven't heard of it before I saw it in the bookstore. Apparently, people have, but not me. When I read the synopsis in the back, I was hooked. I love these stories of people leaving societies, disliking people and not being able to live in a place where there are any people. I also truly enjoy stories in which animals have an important part in harmony with people. A few pages into the book, I was absolutely unable to stop reading. As I mentioned in the beginning, the way the story is told and the language that is used to do so is simply stunning. I read this so quickly and then I wished I didn't so that I could perhaps enjoy it a little bit more. Although I generally don't like books that do not have chapters, it didn't bother me so much with this one as there was something like chapters - the story is divided into months, starting in November and ending in May.

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