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Kragepigen by Jerker Eriksson
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Kragepigen (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Jerker Eriksson, Håkan Sundquist

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3082036,210 (3.66)14
Member:mai-britt
Title:Kragepigen
Authors:Jerker Eriksson
Other authors:Håkan Sundquist
Info:Kbh. : Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2011.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund (2010)

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» See also 14 mentions

English (14)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All (20)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I am a big fan of Nordic/Scandi Noir, both in movies (The Killing, The Bridge) and in the written word. There is a certain style in the crime writing; very descriptive very character driven with a plot line always developed in an articulate and thoughtful way. I was therefore very excited when "The Crow Girl" recently reduced to £5 (kindle) became available to UK readers. I expected the same attention to detail and exciting storytelling that I have become used to in the writings of Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo, and more recently Yrsa Sigurdardottir

It is always a good thing when the first few pages immediately hold and retain the reader's attention.....a room is being prepared, insulated and sound proofed to create what we can only presume is a prison, and very soon a young boy is held captive, doped and incarcerated. A body is discovered in the centre of Stockholm and DS Janette Kihlberg is tasked with finding the perpetrator of some gruesomely mummified remains. To help understand the mind of a killer she seeks out and requests help from psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund. Jeanette is feeling the growing pressure, male prejudice at work and in addition trying to cope with a disintegrating home life with her partner Ake and son Johan. As the body count rises a conspiracy is discovered stretching back many years, involving sexual abuse and paedophilia, and implicating respected pillars of the community.

At 786 pages long this is a story that needs perseverance. At first I became engrossed with the stylish writing depicting acts of depravity and with characters that had multiple personalities and deep rooted personal problems. There are some big issues to think about here most prominent the idea of dissociative identity disorder where a person is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person's behaviour. I found myself having a lot of sympathy for DS Kihlberg balancing an increasing complicated workload and an equally confusing personal life. Decisions that she takes and a personal discovery that she makes will have far reaching consequences for the present and into the future.

The real problem with The Crow Girl is the page count. I really enjoyed the story at first but the depressing subject matter became overwhelming in the later stages. My understanding is that this was originally 3 separate books on first release in Sweden, and would have benefited greatly from some tight proof reading/editing, before UK release, leading to a single combined volume of around 500 pages. Having made clear my reservations I still believe this is essential reading for lovers of Nordic crime but be prepared to be shocked and possibly repulsed at the sensitive storyline unfolding before you. ( )
  runner56 | Apr 27, 2017 |
This review covers a book, published in English, which contains three books previously released in Sweden as Krakflickan, Hungerelden and Pythians Ansvisnigar. And let me tell you I’m really glad about that. About halfway through part 1, which I assume is the first novel, things got so dark, bleak and crazy that I thought I’d give up if there were two more books to go. After a bit of research I realized I had all three and pushed on. It did take some mental fortitude though since the entire book seems to revel in violence and degradation. As you’d think, men are the perpetrators and women and children the recipients. It’s pretty darn awful, but written in such a way that I wanted to see how it ended. The grisly parts got skimmed.

The book is told in short little vignettes that read like scenes in a movie. Each is labeled and so you know who will be the focus for the section. One is Jeanette, a cop in Stockholm trying to solve multiple murders of young boys; some illegal and unknown, some identified, but so down the social ladder that her bosses don’t really care. The other POV is Sofia, a psychologist who eventually is tagged to help Jeanette in her investigation. There is a lot of authorial sleight-of-hand and many things are not what they seem. Much of Sophia’s narrative goes back in time with her patients and her past; both of which are horrific enough to break your brain. A lot of the time with Jeanette is devoted to her crumbling marriage and struggles with being a female police officer with high rank.We also get a bit from some other cops and a repulsive Prosecutor named von Kwist. It's definitely a product of its time and there are a lot of contemporary pop culture references and references to life in Sweden/Stockholm. I called up a map so I could understand the geography. It's VERY politically correct on all fronts. Anyone who isn't at least a little bi-curious is the weirdo and of course women can't succeed as easily as men because men are assholes. Illegals/immigrants are just as, if not more important than a political appointee who gets into a major scrape. You get the idea. I'm not saying they're wrong, but it's laid on pretty thick.

The story is fairly drawn out and detailed and as an American I was a bit appalled at some of the things built into the Swedish system of justice. In the end, I suppose it works for them but imagine a prosecutor here being able to dictate who the investigators can and cannot question. What?? Crazy. Also crimes seem to get individual budgets that are set at the start of a case. Probably that’s the same here, but it’s covert. The writing isn’t elegant and there are some translation issues, but it moves right along. If you like really odd thrillers with a big psychological component (both analysis and mental illness) and can stomach a whole heck of a lot of torture porn, this series is worth checking out. ( )
1 vote Bookmarque | Dec 28, 2016 |
"How much can a human being withstand before they turn into a monster?"

For me, a glaring difference between (most) crime thrillers from the States versus those from Scandinavian countries is that the latter tends to be more character-driven. Many US crime fiction novels are just that - crime fiction. They've got the detective, the perpetrator, the crime, the investigation; they read as procedurals. Scandinavian crime fiction, on the other hand, brings crime fiction to a whole new level by straying away from the genre's traditional formula. Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is a classic example. Scandinavian crime fiction stories tend to be grittier and complex - they probe endlessly at problems within Swedish (in this instance) society and use the narrative techniques of crime fiction to do so.

"The Crow Girl" is a deeply psychological novel. It surpasses "Gone Girl" by eons. As of right now, this book epitomises the psychological crime genre for me, because it balances both psychology and crime seamlessly together to form a very genuine story - one that's not trying to be a psychological crime novel. And most importantly, it uses both genres to explore societal issues and age-long questions about human endurance.

She thinks about what determines the value of a human life. Is it the number of mourners at the funeral, the financial value of the estate, or the media interest in the death? The social influence of the deceased? Their country of origin or skin colour? Or the sum of police resources allocated to a murder investigation?"

I don't think I can properly introduce the complex cast of characters in this book largely because the discovery of these characters is part of the experience for the reader. In my opinion, the psychological turns serve not to shock (in fact, I expected a lot of it), but to serve as an analysation of one of the overall themes of the book, illustrated by the first quote. It's a story that explores the vicious cycle of unimaginable pain and insurmountable hatred, victim and perpetrator; every character has their own set of motivations, and the lengths they go to achieve their goals plays a large part in the way these seemingly unrelated characters' lives collide.

"The Crow Girl" is emotionally crushing, but in my opinion it is so very important that it be read. I think this book adequately contributes to an understanding of the psychology of violence, pain, and the ways the human mind tries to protect itself. It has the potential to inspire people to learn more about a deep-seated issue that affects millions in societies beyond just Scandinavia; this alone makes the effort to read it worth it.

Last but not least: Jerker Eriksson and Håkan Axlander Sundquist have done a brilliant job writing some of the book's most prolific scenes. There are moments where the imagery and pacing are incredibly cinematic. The story will literally creep into you until you feel like its dark brutality has parked itself deep inside you.

Kudos to translator Neil Smith for taking this HUGE trilogy on and doing it fantastically. ( )
  wildrequiem | Oct 28, 2016 |
Extremely dark - child abuse, torture, murder, psychosis. Very, very long - 768 pages. But I couldn't stop turning those pages. ( )
  cacky | Sep 10, 2016 |
Way too long.
Back and forth , chapter after chapter. Same old story
Maybe the translation, maybe the writing
Disappointing ( )
  sogamonk | Sep 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erik Axl Sundprimary authorall editionscalculated
Axlander Sundquist, Håkanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Eriksson, JerkerAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, WibkeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dunkelt är vårt liv. Stor vår medfödda bevikelse - vilken gör att så många sagor överhuvud blomma i Skandinaviens skogar - dystert kolnar vårt hjärtas hungereld. Många blir kolvaktare vid sitt eget hjärtas mila; lägga i fördrömmelsens krymplingsskap örat till och höra hur det susande förbrinner.

Ur Nässlorna blomma av Harry Martinsson
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Till minnet av en syster
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Huset var hundra år gammalt och de gedigna stenväggarna var metertjocka, vilket betydde att hon antagligen inte behövde isolera dem, men hon ville vara på den säkra sidan.
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It begins in a Stockholm city park where the abused body of a young boy is discovered. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg heads the investigation, battling an apathetic prosecutor and a bureaucratic police force unwilling to devote resources to solving the murder of an immigrant child. But with the discovery of the mutilated corpses of two more children, it becomes clear that a serial killer is at large.

Superintendent Kihlberg turns to therapist Sofia Setterlund for her expertise in the psychopathology of those who kill, and the lives of the two women become quickly intertwined - professionally and personally. As they draw closer to each other and to the truth about the killings, what surfaces is the undeniable fact that these murders are only the most obvious evidence of an insidious evil woven deep into Swedish society.
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