Do you remember our friend Doppler from the novel of the same name by Erlend Loe? Our Norwegian friend who had enough of everything and went to live in the forest?
As you probably recall, our brilliant friend, on one hand, had grown weary of people and their presence, and on the other, longed for good souls in his life. Thus, he thought life in the forest with his “adopted” moose Bongo would bring him peace and quiet. However, although it seemed at first glance that he had managed to escape from people, poor Doppler was found even in the forest, and they wouldn’t leave him alone.
If you’re thinking, “What is this guy talking about and is there any of that mushroom he ate for me?”, take a look at the review, and be sure to read the book. Of course, it won’t be terrible if you don’t read the previous book (they’re not so tightly connected, so they can be read separately), but it would be a pity.
If you thought the situation in “Doppler” was twisted, then you’ll definitely be thrilled with the literary work “Volvo Trucks”. In addition to Doppler, his son Gregus, and the moose Bongo, the main characters now also include Maj Brit, a strange retiree with her own worldviews (and who constantly smokes hashish and listens to Bob Marley), and von Boring, a former scout, now a lonely aristocrat with his strange rituals and a passionate birdwatcher (and for years at war with Maj Brit).
The situation for Doppler is not easy at all, as he soon finds himself between a hammer and an anvil (in this case, Maj Brit and von Boring), losing sight (literally) of both Gregus and Bongo, and feeling that he no longer has any control over events. First, it took Doppler a while to realize that he was in SWEDEN! He’s so out of control that he’s no longer even the narrator of his events.
Yes, you read that right.
Erlend Loe has decided to take on the role of narrator. Now, before you look at me as if I’m crazy with the comment, “but common sense dictates that the author is also the narrator of his work,” you must understand that the situation is more twisted than you think.
Namely, Erlend Loe is not at all normal! 😀 He clearly lets us know that he is aware that he is writing this novel (I know how twisted this sounds 😅). He himself will explain the lives of Maj Brit and von Boring, their past, their obsessions, their unfulfilled dreams, why Volvo trucks are important, what is happening with Doppler (again, I know how twisted all this sounds, because it’s logical for the author to describe all this, but this is not your typical novel 😀 ).
However, despite everything written, this is not at all a confusing novel. On the contrary, it is very easy to read and interesting… better to say, brilliant. 🙂 “Volvo Trucks” are, at least to me, much more interesting than “Doppler”.
The idea of the author commenting and being the narrator from his own, real perspective turned out to be a really great move. Erlend Loe will constantly make digressions, comment, and even justify to the reader that he did some things on purpose (i.e., wrote/created), even though it would have been logical to do otherwise. He will often start talking nonsense, pulling out information from who knows where that is unrelated (but, again, could be related to something… and his publisher thinks it should be included 😀). He himself will emphasize that some things would look much better in a film, how he skips/accelerates some scenes so they wouldn’t be boring… so, total madness! 🙂 At one point, you’ll think Erlend Loe will start to mess with…uh, tease the characters of his novel and further complicate their life situations.
The style and manner of writing, a lot of humor and sarcasm, as well as short chapters, simply compel you not to put the book down. I think this was the quickest 200 pages of any book I’ve read. I kept wondering what the author would “blurt out” next. It’s an understatement to say that I couldn’t stop smiling while reading, and there was even a situation where I laughed out loud in one scene.
(Originally reviewed: 20/12/2019)
Price of the book in Serbia: Vulkan | Laguna | Delfi | Makart | Dereta
Ratings (and purchasing) on international sites: Goodreads | Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK) | Waterstones | Barnes & Noble | Audible (US) / Audible (UK)