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The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin
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The Darkest Room (2008)

by Johan Theorin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gerlof Davidsson (2)

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» See also 22 mentions

English (16)  Dutch (3)  Danish (2)  German (2)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Gave me the 'willies'. Creepiest book I've read in a while. Well written. ( )
  richardcjennings | Nov 11, 2013 |
Ook dit boek weer met plezier gelezen. Net als Schemeruur een aanrader ( )
  Gea1967 | Sep 22, 2013 |
Even though I read it alone and there wasn’t a campfire in sight reading The Darkest Room was a similar experience to having sat at the feet of an old-fashioned storyteller and become engrossed in his latest tale. Different threads and themes are woven together in a way that would be a disaster in a lesser craftsman’s hands but in Theorin’s, who is clearly a master of his craft, the sensitively translated product is deliciously atmospheric.

The novel centres on a house which was originally built from timber washed ashore after a shipwreck in 1846. The house, at Eel Point on the remote Swedish island of Öland, has seen many inhabitants in the subsequent decades and the book reveals what happened to some of them in between recounting the story of the house’s current owners Katrine and Joakim Westin. Just as they and their children are settling into their new home after moving from Stockholm tragedy strikes the family, as it has befallen many of the house’s previous occupants, and Theorin teases us by slowly revealing that things are not as they might first have seemed. Are there ghosts at Eel Point or does the danger that lurks take a more earthly form?

In addition to the Westins we meet Tilda Davidsson, a recently graduated police officer who is the sole officer operating full-time out of a newly re-opened station in one of the island’s towns. Her job is primarily a community liaison though she does have at least one more serious investigation to worry about as the island experiences a string of burglaries. As well as being an interesting character in her own right Tilda’s familial relationships offer a way for Theorin to include Gerlof Davidsson here, who was my favourite figure in the first book, Echoes from the Dead. There just aren’t enough clever octogenarians featured in fiction these days and even though Gerlof’s role is a more minor one I appreciated his insights as Tilda records his thoughts and stories in an informal oral history.

I know that saying that a book’s setting is a character is frowned upon in some reviewing circles but I can’t think of any other way to describe the presence in this story of the house in particular and the island in general. The action takes place in the Northern winter when the island is at its coldest, harshest and least inviting. Snow, ice and storms feature heavily and I can’t be the only reader to have reached for a warming cup of tea and another blanket as I lost myself in the tale. Aside from the natural environment the book also explores a theme that Theorin is clearly engaged by, namely the social changes the island has seen as Sweden has moved from being an agricultural based society to a more urbanised one.

There are plenty of other aspects of this absorbing book I could talk about but I’m wary of giving spoilers and frankly further discussion on my part is just taking you away from your next task which is to track down a copy of the book. Now. It is part historical fiction, part ghost story, part whodunit, and part sailor’s yarn. It is wholly enjoyable and recommended to all. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
I can tell when the book has been a special one when I am thinking about it long after I have finished reading it. "The Darkest Room" held me in its thrall with its blend of mystery, drama, action, police detective work and ghost story. Set entirely on an island off the coast of Sweden, the story covers many eras: from the contemporary right back to the Bronze Age. The translator is also to be commended for a terrific finished product. ( )
  harrietgate | Jan 24, 2012 |
I really loved Echoes From the Dead, which was recommended to me by a friend. And when that same friend said she'd reading Theorin's other novel, I eagerly checked it out. I think The Darkest Room is an even better novel. Part mystery and part ghost story, Theorin's plot twists and turns, like the blizzard that eventually makes things all too clear. I cannot wait to read more of his stuff. ( )
  callmecayce | Dec 14, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Johan Theorinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bolstad, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bree, Corry vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cangemi, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cassaigne, RémiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delargy, MarlaineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Khokhlovoĭ, E. N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menna, OutiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Misumi, KazuyoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ratajczak, BogumiłaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schöps, KerstinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valle, Carlos delTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
"De döda samlas varje vinter för att fira jul. Men en gång blev de störda av en ogift gumma. Hennes klocka hade stannat, så hon gick upp för tidigt och kom mitt i lulnatten till kyrkan. Det sorlade av röster som om det var gudstjänst där och det var fullt med folk. Plötsligt såg gumman sin fästman från unga dagar. Han hade drunknat många år tidigare, men nu satt han i en kyrkbänk bland de andra." - Svensk folksägen från 1800-talet
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Det är här min bok börjar, Katrine, året då Åluddens gård byggdes.
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Joakim Westin, a grieving widower whose young daughter begins hearing ghostly voices, must solve a puzzle that includes a walled-in room and his community's mysterious glowing lighthouse.

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