Blood On Snow By Jo Nesbo
Noir fiction is a literary genre in which the protagonist is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the protagonist. A typical protagonist of the Noir fiction is dealing with the legal, political or other system that is no less corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized and/or has to victimize others on a daily basis, leading to a lose-lose situation.
Fairy Tales: As all good books do, fairy tales explore the dark and primal aspects of human nature--the deep corners of our psyches that we shy away from. That is the true reason they have lasted in the cultural imagination for hundreds of years; beneath their simplicity lies a world of social commentary and compelling darkness
Hello reader, I want to give you the ending of my review first: I liked this book!
Jo Nesbo’s latest work, Blood on Snow, reads either like a bloody fairy tale with an unhappy ending or like a psychological dissertation on dissociative disorder leading to criminal behavior. This is the story of Olav, a hired killer or “fixer”, whose clientele are the drug bosses of Oslo’s underworld. Olav appears to kill without remorse. At the same time he falls in love easily, gives all his money away to the widow of one of the targets he “fixed”, and rescues one of his intended victims.
The events of this short novel are both predictable and unlikely. Just like Olav, we can see that there is no way out of the tragedy that is his life. Olav romanticizes love, imagines a beautiful life with a beautiful woman. But alas, it will not happen.
There are many books in which in order to enjoy them one must suspend an attachment to what one considers reality. This is one of those books. Fairy tales are enduring because they invite us into another world where horrible things happen to the hero. Olav does not survive his horrible life, yet, there is just enough goodness in him to make me think deeply, and sadly.
Now why did I like this book? Nesbo has a writing style that is spacious – I flew through this story like a hot knife through butter. Olav is tragic and interesting and despite the overwhelming odds he keeps trying to do the right thing. We can only look on with regret at the disaster that unfolds.
This little book has staying power – I am still thinking about it a week later and I want to talk about it. Blood on Snow stands on its own without the happy ending I like in a book.
At The Edge of The Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
Fans of historical fiction I hope you are acquainted with author Tracy Chevalier. Perhaps best known for Girl With a Pearl Earring, Chevalier has gone on to pen other gems such as Remarkable Creatures and The Last Runaway. Her latest work, At the Edge of the Orchard, fit nicely into many of the areas I am particularly interested in: botany, trees, frontier life, the extraordinary feats of scientists and human relationships.
At the Edge of the Orchard contains two stories in one: initially we meet fictional characters Sadie and James Goodenough, a pioneer couple from Connecticut settling in the muddy stagnant black swamp of northwest Ohio in 1838. They could go no further west as their wagon was stuck in the mud. Along with their five children they fight for survival as they struggle to build an apple orchard on the edge of the swamp. James’ love of apples far outweighs his love of Sadie and this will ultimately determine the course of their relationship. Historical figure John Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed, makes brief appearances as he peddles his apple tree seedlings from a canoe up and down Ohio rivers.
Robert Goodenough, the youngest child of James and Sadie, strikes out on his own after a cataclysmic family event. How he travels to California, meets and works with historical figure William Lobb (responsible for the commercial introduction to England of the massive sequoias from North America) and ultimately comes to peace with his tumultuous past is the meat of this novel. Robert Goodenough is a reluctant protagonist. James and Sadie are passionate, tortured and complex. Chevalier’s character development is as rich and tart and at the same time sweet as a homemade apple pie. When I finished the story
I still wanted another slice of the Goodenough family. For me that is one of the signs of a good book –if I really enjoyed the story I miss the characters I have spent time with on the page.
Blog written by Judy Lemezis
Staff of Wellington Square Book Shop