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Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller

Norwegian by Night (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Derek Miller

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2572344,496 (4.02)24
Title:Norwegian by Night
Authors:Derek Miller
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2013), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller (2012)

  1. 00
    One boy missing by Stephen Orr (infosleuth)
    infosleuth: Insightful about father/son relationships and orphaned children.
  2. 00
    Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg (charl08)
    charl08: Thoughtful crime in Scandinavia

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Beautiful ( )
  sprocto | Jan 30, 2015 |
I seem to be finding myself annoyed at very good books written by American authors because they end with violent gun battles. [b:Norwegian by Night|15775210|Norwegian by Night|Derek B. Miller|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1343866961s/15775210.jpg|21486468] doesn't have as violent an ending as [b:Reamde|10552338|Reamde|Neal Stephenson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1305993115s/10552338.jpg|15458989] by [a:Neal Stephenson|545|Neal Stephenson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1314902446p2/545.jpg], but there is still there is still the unapologetic pride in gunsmanship.

As with Reamde, there is much more to this book than its violent dénouément. As with Reamde, I have this sense that I don't want to look too closely at the underlying political sentiments. This is a very good which is hard to fairly categorize. Partly police procedural, partly action adventure, partly political reflection, it is simultaneously graceful, funny, and a page-turner.

An apparent act of domestic violence in Oslo result in a young Balkan boy and an 82 year old American Jew fleeing cross-country while a worried Oslo police inspector tries her best to figure out what is going on and find the boy before those who harmed her mother do.
  david_c | Jan 24, 2015 |
The main character of this delightful book is a marvelous creation. Cranky, opinionated, and remorseful, 82-year-old Sheldon Horowitz is also insightful and funny. Part of the wonder of this book is the way that Miller was able to weave imaginary conversations with people long-dead with issues arising from geopolitical conflicts to create a story full of marvelous descriptions, humor, and a strong narrative drive. ( )
1 vote eapalmer | Aug 3, 2014 |
I finished this novel yesterday (06/29/2014) and I loved it. Miller takes us into the mind of 82 year old Sheldon Horowitz, who was a Marine sniper in Korea and whose only child was killed in Vietnam. Sheldon blames himself for the loss of his son, and after the death of his wife, Sheldon comes to live with his grand daughter and her husband in Oslo. When a neighbor woman is murdered, Sheldon escapes with the woman's young son in an effort to save the boy. There are funny moments here, especially in the characters of the Oslo police, and moments of grace and wit to go with the inevitable fight scenes. The jacket blurbs claim that the book transcends its genre, and those blurbs are right.
1 vote vmortimer | Jun 30, 2014 |
Norwegian By Night is the story of a man, a man with a secret. At 82, Sheldon Horowitz has just buried his wife Mabel. His granddaughter, Rhea, has asked him to move to Norway to live with her and her husband, Lars. She doesn’t want him to be alone. Her grandmother has told her that he has the beginnings of dementia and she is concerned. He has no one left in New York, so finally, she convinces him to move with her to Oslo. Moving someone with dementia can be devastating. If a person’s surroundings are even more unfamiliar they can be seriously challenged, but Sheldon seems to be adjusting. He doesn’t go anyplace alone; he doesn’t speak the language so it would be difficult to go out, anyway.
Sheldon’s only son, Saul, was killed in Viet Nam. Afterwards, he dreams of him and starts to talk about the days when he, himself, was a marine, a sniper, even calling out a man’s name in his sleep. His wife is put out. After all, he has always told her that when he was in service, he had a job as a clerk, a desk job. This is what leads her to believe he is losing it. Sheldon meanders between reality and fantasy, at times, but never madness or confusion. He has logical explanations for everything he does, although sometimes his explanations rattle those around him.
In Norway, he lives in an apartment adjacent to Rhea and Lars. Upstairs, the neighbors are always quarreling loudly, in a language he does not understand. One day, a woman appears outside his door and is in need of help. When he opens up the door, he sees it is the woman from upstairs and she also has a little boy with her. He allows her to come in and escape the wrath of the man she is living with, and the story sprouts wings.
Senka, the boy’s mother, is a Serb. In her country, her family was brutally killed by Kosovars who were extracting revenge for the deeds of the Serbs who murdered their families and friends. They do not care that the war is over. Brutally raped, Senka becomes pregnant, and the little boy with her is the product of that encounter. The man who raped her, Enver, is from Kosovo. He traced her to Oslo when he found out that he was a father, and he traveled there to capture his son and return with him to Kosovo.
Now, getting back to Sheldon’s story; he has long believed that the Koreans may be looking for him to exact revenge for those he killed when he was a sniper during that war. Though this may defy reality a bit, in fact, after he rescues the child and his mother, he does wind up being pursued by some pretty unsavory characters, although they were definitely not Koreans! As he flees with the child, whom he names Paul, as a tribute to his son, his thoughts travel between his past and the present time, recalling tactics he was taught in military training that will help them both survive. He remembers WWII, a war he was too young to fight in and thinks about Korea, the war he personally witnessed. Then he thinks about Vietnam where his son lost his life.
Sheldon is filled with guilt. He thinks of his war time experiences and remembers his personal responsibility for some of the pain; he blames himself for causing things that were beyond his control, random accidents of fate, sometimes. He thinks about his son and his son’s service to the country and blames himself for his enlistment. He accepts his own weaknesses as the cause of most of the failures in his life. Sheldon’s thoughts are so basic and so simple, that, at times, the reader will have to laugh out loud, even though the prior thought might have provoked a deeper emotion and thought, in contradiction to that “funny” feeling.
The story really opens up a dialogue on aging as well as bigotry. It suggests many questions to the reader. Why would Norway allow wanted men into the country because they seek sanctuary? Have they become too liberal in their behavior, saving the victimizer to attack the victim again? Which of Sheldon’s and/or Donny’s memories are real and which are made up to salve his conscience? Does Sheldon have dementia or are his explanations for his behavior plausible?
The book is hard to put down. It draws the reader in, as Sheldon, an octogenarian, draws on his military background and memory to become somewhat of a hero. The mystery is told in three parts in which Sheldon reminisces about the past and the major events that have colored his attitudes about life. The reader will discover that evil begets evil, hate begets more violence, revenge invites vengeance and war invites serious retaliation into the future. There is no easy answer for the prejudices and the anger someone harbors in their heart and mind.
I liked the book, but I thought some of the coincidences required the suspension of disbelief. Also, there are some unanswered questions. How did Senka get the information she hid away? How did Enver find out about it? Why didn’t the police put a surveillance detail on Rhea and Lars?
Regardless of the inconclusive moments, still, the book was exciting, and I stayed up half the night to finish it! The author juxtaposed tongue in cheek humor opposite gruesome scenes and it worked so well that it was really easy to read. Sheldon’s philosophical ideas about aging and behavior are really thought provoking and worthy of discussion. ( )
1 vote thewanderingjew | Mar 27, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Derek Millerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Larsstuvold, RuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roth, OlafÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547934874, Hardcover)

A literary novel, a police thriller, and the funniest book about war crimes and dementia you are likely to read anytime soon.
Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, old, impatient, impertinent has grudgingly agreed to move in with his granddaughter Rhea and her new husband Lars in Norway: a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, and not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean war turned watch repairman, who failed his only son by sending him to Vietnam to die. Not until now, anyway.

Home alone one morning in unfamiliar Oslo, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the Balkan woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes the neighbor's young son to shield him from the violence, and the two flee the scene. But old age and circumstances are altering Sheldon's experience of time and memory. As he and the boy attempt to make their way to safety, Sheldon becomes haunted by dreams of his son Saul's life and guilt about his death. In looking for a safe haven in an alien world, reality and fantasy, past and present, weave together, forcing Sheldon and the boy ever-forward to a dramatic climax.

Norwegian by Night introduces an ensemble of unforgettable characters—Sheldon and the boy, Rhea and Lars, a Balkan war criminal named Enver, and Sigrid and Petter, the brilliantly dry-witted investigating officers—as they chase each other, and their own demons, through the wilderness at the end of the world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:39 -0400)

After witnessing a murder in Olso, elderly former Marine sniper and watch repairman, Sheldon Horrowitz, flees to safety with the newly orphaned son of the victim and becomes haunted by memories of his own son who died in Vietnam.

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An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921844884, 1922070424

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