Wednesday, April 21, 2010
THE REDBREAST by Jo Nesbo (trans. 2006)
Because I read this Norwegian thriller at the gym over a few weeks, the narrative felt fragmented. THE REDBREAST begins with the 1999 U.S. State visit of then-president Bill Clinton , who is never referred to by name, but rather as someone with a multiple personality disorder: "a psychologist thought his normal personality was not aware that the other one, the sex beast, was having relations with all these women."
Harry Hole, part of Oslo's murder squad, has been assigned to the presidential visit. When Hole makes an embarrassing error, he is reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks, including monitoring the local neo-Nazi activities. That work draws him into a mysterious past when members of Norway's government willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany.
I felt that there were too many narrative threads at times (trying to be a little too clever at implying connections with 1943 and 1999) and with the recurring idea of multiple personality disorder, all the more confusing and that confusion did not add to the tension. There are also predictable romances at the heart; however, I will still pick up another Nesbo novel in order to give the intriguing Harry Hole another chance.