Review: Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Faber & Faber, 2013. Kindle edition. 588 KB. 306 pages. ISBN 978-0-571-29428-2. ASIN: B00ALJGW66

Norwegian by Night

Sheldon Horowitz is a former Marine who served in the Korean War. He has just moved, reluctantly, from New York to Tøyen, a residential area in Oslo, following to the death of his wife Mabel. Widowed, old, impatient and impertinent, has gone to live with his granddaughter Rhea and her Norwegian husband Lars. ‘Mabel’s funeral was held in New York, though original she and Sheldon came from different parts of the country. He was born in New England and she in Chicago. eventually both settled in New York, first as visitors, then as residents, and possibly, after many years, as New Yorkers.’ Sheldon had run an antique and watch repair shop in New York.

Mabel had believed to have identified in Sheldon the first signs of dementia, his granddaughter Rhea thinks the same, Lars is not so sure. ‘His memories were just becoming more vivid with age. Time was folding in a new way. Without a future, the mind turned back on itself. That’s not dementia. One might even say it’s the only rational response to the inevitable.

When he joined the Marines, Sheldon was trained as sniper. Although his family always thought that he had only done clerical works. Several years later, Mabel and Sheldon lost their only child Saul, Rhea’s father, fighting in Vietnam.

One day, when Sheldon is alone at home, he witnesses the murder of a Serbian woman who was living in the floor upstairs. Without further thought, he grabs the woman’s son, a seven or eight years old boy, and runs away. Before leaving, Sheldon writes a note to his granddaughter with a quote from Huckleberry Finn, expecting she will understand it.

At this point the novel tells the story of the flight for survival of a child and an old man in a foreign country. They don’t speak the local language and cannot communicate between them. At the same time they are being hunted not only by the murderer, but also by Sheldon’s personal ghosts. The reader will also find other characters like the Police Chief Inspector in charge of the case, Sigrid Ødegård, and Enger, a Kosovar involved in drug trafficking and the boy’s father. Although the story is narrated mainly from Sheldon’s point of view, sometimes the attention shifts to other characters.

Norwegian By Night is a very impressive debut and will undoubtedly be one of the best books I’ve read this year. The quality of its writing is outstanding, a unique reading experience. The main character will be difficult to forget and will remain in my memory for a long time. The book also covers a large number of topics, each and every one of them are very interesting to say the least. It’s worth pointing out that throughout the narrative we will find some very funny passages. In short, I’m glad for having read it. It’s a brilliant thriller, powerful and highly emotive. In a sense, it has reminded me of a road movie. A real beauty.

My rating: 5/5.

Derek B. Miller was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and has lived abroad for over fifteen years in Israel, England, Hungary, Switzerland, and Norway. His interest in fiction began a few years after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. Currently, Derek is the director of The Policy Lab and a senior fellow with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. He has a PhD in international relations from the University of Geneva, and an MA in national security studies from Georgetown University, in cooperation with St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. He lives in Oslo with his wife and children. Norwegian By Night is shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, the eventual winner will be announced on 24th October, at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2013.

Norwegian By Night has been reviewed at Raven Crime ReadsMrs. Peabody Investigates (Katharina) Scandinavian Crime Fiction (Barbara), Ms. Wordopolis Read (Rebecca), Shots Crime & Thriller Ezine ( L. J. Hurst), Crime Thriller Fella, Kittling: Books (Cathy), The View From The Blue House (Rob), Crime Fiction Lover (Andre), among others.  

Faber & Faber

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Scribe

The Story of my Book: Norwegian by Night by Derek B Miller

Norwegian by Night, de Derek B Miller

Sheldon Horowitz es un antiguo marine que sirvió en la guerra de Corea. Acaba de mudarse, de mala gana, de Nueva York a Tøyen, una zona residencial de Oslo, tras la muerte de su esposa Mabel. Viudo, viejo, impaciente e impertinente, se ha ido a vivir con su nieta Rhea y su marido Lars que es noruego. ‘El funeral de Mabel se celebró en Nueva York, aunque tanto ella como Sheldon procedían de diferentes partes del país. El nació en Nueva Inglaterra y ell en Chicago. Finalmente ambos se establecieron en Nueva York, primero en calidad de visitantes, luego como residentes, y, posiblemente, después de muchos años, ya como neoyorquinos’. Sheldon había tenido en Nueva York una tienda dedicada a antigüedades y a la  reparación de relojes.

Mabel había creido identificar en Sheldon los primeros signos de demencia, su nieta Rhea piensa lo mismo, Lars no está tan seguro. ‘Sus recuerdos se estaban volviendo más intensos con la edad. El tiempo se adaptataba de manera distinta. Sin un futuro, la mente se replegó sobre si misma. Eso no es  demencia. Incluso se podría decir que es la única respuesta racional a lo inevitable.’

Cuando se alistó en los marines, Sheldon recibió entrenamiento como francotirador, aunque su familia siempre pensó que sólo había realizado trabajos adminsitrativos. Varios años después, Mabel y Sheldon perdieron a su único hijo Saúl, el padre de Rea, luchando en Vietnam.

Un día, cuando Sheldon está solo en casa, es testigo del asesinato de una mujer serbia que vivía en el piso de arriba. Sin pensarlo, agarra al hijo de la mujer, un niño de siete u ocho años de edad, y huye. Antes de salir, Sheldon escribe una nota a su nieta con una cita de Huckleberry Finn, esperando que ella la entenderá.

Llegados a esta punto la novela cuenta la historia de la huida por sobrevivir de un niño y un anciano en un país extranjero. Ellos no hablan el idioma local y no se pueden comunicar entre si. Al mismo tiempo están siendo perseguidos no sólo por el asesino, sino también por los fantasmas personales de Sheldon. El lector encontrará también otros personajes como la inspectora jefe de policía a cargo del caso, Sigrid Ødegård y Enger, un kosovar involucrado en el tráfico de estupefacientes y padre del niño. Aunque la historia está narrada principalmente desde el punto de vista de Sheldon, a veces la atención se desplaza a otros personajes.

Norwegian By Night es un debut muy impresionante y, sin duda, será uno de los mejores libros que he leído este año. La calidad de su escritura es excepcional, una experiencia de lectura única. El personaje principal será difícil de olvidar y permanecerá en mi memoria durante mucho tiempo. El libro también incluye una gran cantidad de temas, todos y cada uno de ellos son, por lo menos, muy interesantes. Vale la pena señalar que a lo largo de la narración nos encontraremos con algunos pasajes muy divertidos. En fin, me alegro de haberlo leído. Es un thriller brillante, poderoso y muy emotivo. En cierto sentido, me ha recordado a un road movie. Una verdadera belleza.

Mi valoración: 5/5.

Derek B. Miller nació y se crió en Boston, Massachusetts, y ha vivido fuera durante más de quince años en Israel, Inglaterra, Hungría, Suiza y Noruega. Su interés por la novela de ficción comenzó pocos años después de graduarse en el Sarah Lawrence College. Actualmente, Derek es director del Laboratorio de Políticas y un investigador en el Instituto de las Naciones Unidas para la Investigación sobre el Desarme. Tiene un doctorado en relaciones internacionales por la Universidad de Ginebra, y un master en Estudios de Seguridad Nacional por la Universidad de Georgetown, en colaboración con el Colegio de Santa Catalina, de la Universidad de Oxford. Vive en Oslo con su esposa e hijos. Norwegian By Night es finalista al CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, el posterior ganador será anunciado el 24 de octubre, en la Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2013.

11 thoughts on “Review: Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller

  1. I enjoyed Norwegian by Night a great deal, and concur with saying it was one of my best reads of this year, so good that I had to tell everyone around me how good it was. It was particularly funny to me, having grown up with Jewish/Eastern European relatives whose sense of humor was portrayed accurately in this book.
    However, it is a tragicomedy, very typical of books by and about Jewish characters, witty yet full of sorrow and guilt — a brilliantly conceived book.

  2. This is currently up for the crime book club vote. This is a great review and I will read the book regardless of it being a book choice of not. Thank you!

  3. And along with guilt and sorrow in Jewish culture is wit. This author knows so well how to combine all of this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.