Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Glitter Scene by Monika Fagerholm

The Glitter SceneThe Glitter Scene by Monika Fagerholm

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I received this book, courtesy of the publisher, I was a little puzzled as it was described as a murder mystery but the cover was unlike any other murder mystery book I'd seen. At this point I have to admit that I am a bit of a font and book nerd and the cover of this volume is absolutely beautiful – not just beautiful to look at, it is tactile as well (one point scored for the supporters of the “kindle-will-never-replace-that”). But I digress.

I started reading and I kept thinking I was missing words. The style of this book is so peculiar it was like reading Ulysses all over again: you will see what I mean when you read the book. It is like modern art or contemporary classical music: it takes a while to understand, and you think it's really weird, but amazingly it all works, and eventually you do understand it, a little while after having closed the book. Which is exactly what happened to me.

I don't think you can summarise the plot, as it is anything but linear: there are different points of view, flashbacks and overlap between them. It is an “impressionistic” book in that you have to let the words take you where the author wants you, the reader, to be. The characters are viewed from their own point of view and the point of view of one other character in the story: there isn't an omniscient narrator that we can rely on and trust, to help us form an opinion of the characters. This prevents empathising with them, but makes the reader be the narrator him/herself: it is almost as if the story is unfolding in front of our very eyes, with all its complexities, emotions and lack of objectivity.

I liked this book once I finished it – it is, more than a story, an experience or an emotion.

The translator has done a brilliant job for a book which must have been a very difficult assignment indeed.

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