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Naive. Super by Erland Loe

Naive. Super (original 1996; edition 2005)

by Erland Loe

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1,038198,123 (3.87)15
Title:Naive. Super
Authors:Erland Loe
Info:Canongate UK (2005), Paperback, 208 pagina's
Collections:Your library

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Naïve. Super by Erlend Loe (1996)

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» See also 15 mentions

English (13)  Finnish (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
a very fast read. i definitely chuckled (yes. chuckled.) through it. some fun observations of every day little things. prose are very choppy and to the point. also a bit of stream of consciousness. ( )
  mawls | Apr 4, 2013 |
Amiable. Philosophical. Kind of similar to Douglas Coupland, but simpler, deeper and more likeable.

Like many of Coupland's characters, the anonymous narrator of Naïve.Super is a bright young guy from a comfortable background who sounds mildly depressed and feels that his life lacks meaning and direction.

The most remarkable thing I found in this novel is the lack of ego, and this is where the difference from similar writers is so apparent. Nowhere is there any discussion of status, fame or recognition, whether this be as signifiers of the value of one's life, or as ideas to be shaken off in some modern ascetic journey. The narrator seeks good quality of life and connections with others, not power, money, renown or other personal narcissistic trappings. Given that publishing one's own work tends to have some egotism to it, it's incredibly rare to see fiction written from this point of view, especially from a young author and narrator. It's so amazingly refreshing, and an insight into a different and incredibly appealing normality.

His quest for meaning takes in things such as rediscovery of simple games like bouncing a ball, meditations on the nature and meaning of time prompted by a physics book, compiling lists (about direct experiences - rather than cultural artefacts standing in for them à la Nick Hornby), looking after the neighbours' kid, being talked into visiting New York with his brother, and typing rude words into a library catalogue.

The language and expression is wonderfully simple and clear, such that it's curious to see it juxtaposed with the narrator's feelings of confusion about the world. (I have a Scandinavian friend who is in this respect similar to him, which leads me to wonder if this book is rather representative of a generation.)

There are quite a few indicators of the openness, trust, equality and prosperity in Norwegian society; they're never in-your-face or overtly politicised, they're incidental details of the story and of the narrator's viewpoint. No-one has to worry about anything being suspicious if an unrelated man with benign intentions is looking after a child (something I've also noticed a couple of times in Scandinavian films - no scenes where a grumpy kid cries, leading to a security guard coming over as in every second sitcom here). There are no worries about giving someone's phone number out to a potential love interest. You still make (some) time for annoying friends. Croquet is part of a family scene but clearly devoid of class connotations. And most of all, the narrator's lists of interesting scenes he sees in New York often mention poverty or aggressive behaviour in a way that is non judgemental, yet makes it implicitly apparent that you hardly ever see these things back home and that it doesn't make sense that things have been able to get to this stage.

I found this such a great example of the way in which fiction can at the same time give you something comfortable to identify with, yet really open your mind to different ways of looking at the world.

I really want to read more by Erlend Loe, but unfortunately this is the only one of his books that has been translated into English. So many more books by non-English authors seem to get translated into French and German than into our language... such cultural insularity / arrogance / imperialism is annoying and disappointing. (Then again I don't read any other language well enough to manage a whole novel, so...)

Finished 24 Sept 2011. ( )
  antonomasia | Apr 4, 2013 |
VOTO: 8,7

Questi sono libri che mi piacciono, leggeri e abbastanza profondi insieme *_*
E il protagonista mi sta simpatico.
E Erle è bravo U_U ( )
  Malla-kun | Sep 22, 2012 |
The twenty five year narrator is confused, a graduate who has just withdrawn from his masters degree course he is confused, he is hung up on time and space, he has diffusivity understanding such concepts, and as he explains, it is easy to see why. He expresses himself in very simple terms, many sentences are just three or four words in length, yet what he is considering is frequently profound. He considers what he has, and what he does not, he likes making lists.

Looking after his older brother's apartment in Norway while his brother is away on business, he makes friends with a young boy of kindergarten age who lives in the same building, he meets a girl, and enjoys the caring attention of his brother.

Naïve. Super is like no other book I have read, while the narrator is concerned about certain concepts, he is also concerned about friendship, life, and being a good guy. It makes for a fascinating and very different reading experience. ( )
  presto | Apr 24, 2012 |
This is one of those slightly off the wall books I would probably never have found if I didn’t go poking around in second hand shops. In it, the unnamed (aren’t they all nowadays?) narrator tells of a mini-breakdown in his life which caused him to question just about everything in his life and, in particular, the nature of time.

He drops out of university, spends ages throwing a football against the wall, and plays games with the five year old next door. The parents of the said five year old agree to leave the child in his care for the day, despite discovering that he (the narrator) has spent the previous day playing with a child's hammer and peg board. Bizarre. Next thing, they are racing up and down the road in a Volvo. It's a sort of random stream of thoughts and events, some of which had me nodding and thinking 'yes, I often feel like that too', and others which made me want to give him a kick in the pants and tell him to pull himself together.

Despite its weighty topics, this book is very easy to read and is the sort of thing you could whizz through in a day. The chapters are short, there are frequent lists, and towards the end there are whole pages devoted to a visual joke which probably works better in the original Norwegian and which I skimmed over in less than ten seconds.

This was an enjoyable read inasmuch as it represented something different from the norm: a trip along a literary back-alley. A world view filtered through unfamiliar eyes with some fascinating facts thrown in. On the other hand I would have preferred it to last a little longer and to provide something more substantial to chew on ( )
  jayne_charles | May 15, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erlend Loeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Menna, OutiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Thanks to my Family,
to my little brother Even, and
to Kim, Egil, Kjetil and Alice.
'Anybody who rides a bike
is a friend of mine.'

      Gary Fisher
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I have two friends.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Troubled by an inability to find any meaning in his life, the 25-year-old narrator of this deceptively simple novel quits university and eventually arrives at his brother's New York apartment. In a bid to discover his raison d'tre he writes his lists. He becomes obsessed by time and whether it actually matters. He faxes his meteorologist friend. He endlessly bounces a ball against the wall. He befriends a small boy who lives next door. He yearns to get to the bottom of life and how best to live it. Funny, enigmatic and frequently poignant.… (more)

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