Blood on the floor
By Ralph McAllister
It was a pleasure meeting Camilla Lackberg at Unity Books the other day. She was there to promote her thriller Buried Angels, the latest in her set of “noir” Scandinavian works. She spoke eloquently of her first “book” written or, rather drawn, at the age of four.
First picture was a happy one of Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas. Fourth and final picture was of Mrs Christmas lying dead on the floor with blood everywhere. Her mother still has the original.
Later Lackberg thought it better to become a writer rather than a serial killer. Pity Buried Angels didn’t live up to her witty presentation. I found the story laboured and predictable.
But, hey, can 12 million fans be wrong?
Humour and a crazy plot!
Another Scandinavian import, this time the second from Jonas Jonassen, following hard on the heels of his brilliant debut novel The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Jumped out the Window and Disappeared. A brilliantly funny original work, not to mention a wonderful title, was one of my favorites last year.
Now we have The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and it is just as funny and preposterous. Goon like humour and a plot that lurches from absurdity to absurdity sees a Soewetan girl looking after a nuclear bomb which gets sent to Sweden instead of antelope meat, much to the chagrin of Israeli Mossad agents.
It is that crazy! Read it and If you do not enjoy then your really are a sourpuss!
Book of the year?
Finally, what may be my book of the year. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is the wonderful story of Alma the botanist in 19th century Philadelphia whose domineering father teaches her well except about matters of love.
She reels through disastrous love affairs and huge physical challenges in Tahiti and Amsterdam with final triumphs that are both moving and triumphant.
Beautifully written the story even managed to get me interested in plants and mosses.
No mean achievement.
Don’t miss this stunning novel.
More expected from our roving reviewer
We shall see what is of interest in Chiang Mai, Amsterdam, London, Ho Chi Minh City and Melbourne. And write accordingly.
Or I can just revert to reading! (‘No!’ — Editor)