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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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2381348,487 (3.78)6
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 6 mentions

English (7)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
The Crow Girl is not a novel that is going to garner a lot of attention this summer. It is long, which always scares off potential readers for some reason. Moreover, it is dark. So, so dark. Its subject matter is not for the faint of heart by any means. Yet, for those who do finish it, what they discover is a book that manages to discuss some of the most difficult topics in society with dignity. It does so without resorting to graphic descriptions or other forms of sensationalism. It is a book that dredges the very bottom of mankind but still leaves a reader hopeful.

That is not to say that The Crow Girl is perfect. In fact, it is anything but perfect. For one, while the authors do an admirable job presenting severe mental illness, the narrative becomes extremely difficult to follow at times as a result. This is in part because the narrator is the one suffering from mental illness, so it is as if readers get an intimate look into her mind. However, for this complex story with a large cast of characters, this intimacy also makes it difficult to figure out what is happening.

There is also an issue with the specificity of location. The authors have what could be termed a compulsion to be as specific as possible about the location of the narrative as it progresses. There is an overabundance of street names within the story, which may mean more for someone familiar with Stockholm and the surrounding areas but means absolutely nothing to the average American. That being said, the story gains nothing from this specificity. The authors do this to show that such horrific crimes can occur within any neighborhood with the most unassuming people as its perpetrators, but they could have just as easily made their point with fewer street names and a more generic statement.

Lastly, there is a dullness to the entire novel, as if the authors are so afraid of making a misstep in regards to its touchy subject matter that they omitted emotion from all of the characters. One sees this most in Sofia and Jeannette’s relationship which grows from suspicion to mutual admiration to friendship to love with no fanfare. There is just no connection between them that would indicate a growing closeness. The same holds true for almost everything Jeannette and Sofia face individually. There should be rage and horror, despondency and a deep sense of betrayal. Instead, their stories are simply flat.

In a way, this lack of emotion is a good thing as the subject matter is just so difficult. Severe child abuse, child sex slave trade, severe mental trauma, gruesome murders – The Crow Girl has it all. None are easy subjects, but this novel layers them together in a creative fashion that works surprisingly well. Still, were there that added emotion that would make the characters more realistic, the story might prove to be too difficult for readers to tackle.

The Crow Girl is admirably ambitious in its scope, and the authors succeed fairly well in their attempts to present a grand novel about abuse, mental illness, and murder. The characters might feel flat, but they do grow and develop. More importantly, as hideous as the crimes committed within the novel are, the story ends on a note of hope. It does not have a fairy tale ending in which everyone lives happily ever after, but there is sufficient closure for readers to understand that this is as good as it could possibly get from some of the characters. The fact that some of the cast is able to move on and look towards the future is the greatest indicator of hope there is – hope that good will triumph, hope of survival against life’s greatest traumas.

While The Crow Girl is not the type of novel that will be popular or will generate even a modicum of buzz from the publishing world, I am still glad I read it for it is a fascinating study into the mindset of the mentally ill. This is on top of the fact that it is a decent murder mystery that takes you down several twisty paths before arriving at its heartbreaking conclusion. It is one of the toughest books I have ever read due to its subject matter, but that makes it that much more satisfying upon finishing it.
  jmchshannon | Jul 14, 2016 |
Dark and despairing!

A hard read that I had to keep putting aside for a while.
The abuse and trafficking of children is not something of which humanity can be proud. Add torture and sadism and the absence of light is completed.
The story (actually three novels extended into one which makes it a very long read!) drops into lines that are chilling and arresting. The two main character voices of Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg who leads the investigation the therapist Sofia Zetterlund wrap around each other in interesting ways. Sofia has several cases / patients / requests she's looking at. The sentencing of Tyra Mäkelä, the following up Victoria Bergman (a client she finds profoundly puzzling), a request from a social worker to see a war affected child from Sierra Leone, that sparks forgotten nightmare. All build a carefully weighed background to this extreme psychological thriller.
I found the writing style fascinating and the subject matter extremely challenging.
I love Scandinavian noir but this was way to black for me.
To sum up this is a five star, well written novel where the translator has worked their word smithing seamlessly and superbly all wrapped up in a two star appalling topic.
A novel for the most dedicated.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Jun 14, 2016 |
A young boys body is discovered, tortured and mummified. Jeanette Kihlberg is on the case. Sophia Zetterlund is drawn into the case which brings the two women together. Victoria Bergman is a mystery but holds the key to the whole story.

This book is massive. It was originally three seperate books, which have now been put together as one. The size didn't really matter as I was drawn straight into the story and was reading through it quite quickly.

What I enjoyed was Jeanettes story and what happens to her. I also enjoyed the sections belonging to Sophia and again what happens with her. Victoria's story is interesting but very harrowing. Which is the theme through the book. Its not for the faint hearted and is a tale of child abuse, pedophilia, murder and cannabilism. A very dark and disturbing tale this one is.

What I didnt like is that the book became over long and then became tedious. There were a lot of characters and at times I lost the plot with who was who. The first third of the book was the best bit. If I had got the books individually then I think after reading book one I may not have read anymore.

A good idea and lots of interesting and compelling elements in the book but way too long. ( )
  tina1969 | Jun 7, 2016 |
I haven't read many books in swedish lately and therefor I'm unused by the way swedish authors write. Although this book took me a while to really get into, it had a lot to offer once I did. It's an unusual detective story in the way that it tackles a lot of psychology, abuse and rape of children, children soldiers etc, things that are sometimes hard to melt. But when I thought I had a rather good image of the important parts of the book, everything just fell apart and although there were of course hints to what kind of end would come, I was surprised and very delighted in the turn this book took. And to close it off, it ended with a cliffhanger, which makes the reader (at least me) wanting to grap for the next book in this trilogy. I have a thing for stories that involve psychology so it was very much an entertaining read. ( )
  zombiehero | Mar 25, 2016 |
This is the most unsettling story I have ever read. Very dark and scary.
Read it in one session, unputdownable.
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Random House/Vintage Publications via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review. ( )
  Welsh_eileen2 | Mar 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erik Axl Sundprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Axlander Sundquist, Håkanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Eriksson, JerkerAuthormain authorall 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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