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The Seducer by Jan Kjaerstad

The Seducer (1993)

by Jan Kjaerstad

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Wow, read it on Manny's recommendation and can only say it was worth the effort. Am now on the second. I like the concept, I like the style, the telling of all the many yarns ismaking my mind spin in a wonderful way. ( )
  Des2 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Sub-Proustian phallocentric twaddle. I'm actually quite upset that this managed to win the Nordic Prize for Literature in 2001. Scandanavian cinema is great, so I was hoping to be similarly impressed with a foray into the region's literature but this was unfinishable. If I feel the need to be told again and again about the magic of a protagonist's penis, I'll watch Boogie Nights for the nth time rather than opening up this. At least in the film there's a gripping plot!
  mujinga | May 5, 2012 |
the Seducer by Jan Kjaerstad, said to be an international best seller and winner of Scandinavia's top literary award, the Nordic prize. That would seem to be a good recommendation and the jacket further says: Jonah Wergeland, a successful TV documentary producer returns one evening from the World's Fair in Seville to find his wife dead on the living room floor. What follows is a quest to find the killer, encompassing by turns a picaresque and endlessly inventive look at the conditions that brought Wergeland to this critical juncture in life.

So, I thought, oh, a mystery, and given the awards, possibly of the caliber of P.D. James. With that I read the whole 606 pages. Well, the man found his wife in the first chapter. From that point on I waited for the quest for her killer. SPOILER ALERT There is no quest for her killer, at least not in this book, though, as it is a trilogy perhaps that quest is to be found in one of the following two books, which I will not read.

So, after chapter one, it goes off on another story, which I expected to return at some point to his dead wife, and it did, at intervals, it just never got out of the living room. He finally called the police in the last few pages. So, it goes into a background story, which likewise gets interrupted by another tangent and this goes on and on. And, all these stories kind of have the same frame, which is, if you were to imagine a parent going on and on about their son and daughter - not only about their achievements - but about every event in that child's life which led to them achieving this thing, even including the accidents of their particular friends and parents. And also telling you all about their existential crises and how they resolved them. There are some interesting bits in these stories, but they are all told with the point of how they affected the consciousness of our hero, and there are many, many things that are fairly trivial, or the common musings of adolescence or early 20's.

I think the best bit began on p 596, a chapter titled Spring about meeting his future wife (they had been a couple at junior high school, or middle school age) and realizing he'd been in love with her all long. Had that been at the beginning I might have gotten involved with the person, but instead I was offered all this how remarkable he was garbage, and, for me, the story simply never began.

I did rate it 1/2 but that was merely because it was the lowest I could rate it and still have it register. It was a tremendous waste of time. ( )
5 vote solla | Aug 13, 2009 |
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"Jonas Wergeland is a successful TV documentary producer and also something of God's gift to women, with balls of gold, as one newspaper puts it. One day he returns from the World's Fair in Seville and discovers his wife dead on the living-room floor. What follows is a quest to find the killer but more than that is a playful look at how our hero has arrived at this particular juncture in a life full of twists and turns. Like the time a cruise ship nearly ran him down as a child. Now, however, he was on board an old lifeboat, examining a row of onion layers arranged on a plate, before finally looking up to meet the eye of an old actor, well-oiled by now, who lit another Camel and was soon enveloped in a cloud of smoke. "Be a duke," he repeated, but Jonas had lost the thread, he had caught a whiff of danger, although he could not have said what it might be: a drifting iceberg perhaps, of the Skipper Clement, now only a few hundred metres away from them in the darkness and looking, from the shore, like a resplendent floating palace.'"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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