I am working on a really long book, Rough Stone Rolling. It is a history on Joseph Smith, taking cultural factors and unbiased viewpoints with a ton of primary resources. So, it’s a pretty thick and heavy read. I’m about half-way through, so I only finished one book this month.
I needed a break from Rough Stone Rolling, and cracked open a book I won from a giveaway a year or two ago. It was a novel and quick read, and I finished it within 48 hours.
This is the summary according to Goodreads.com:
“Bjorn is a compulsive, exacting bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works–a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his coworkers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn’s bizarre behavior eventually leads his coworkers to try to have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room.
Author Jonas Karlsson doesn’t leave a word out of place in this brilliant, bizarre, delightful take on how far we will go–in a world ruled by conformity–to live an individual and examined life.”
This was a very interesting book. The protagonist, Bjorn, is more of an anti-hero. I didn’t really like it at all, and I’m not sure you are supposed to. He has a lot of peculiarities that make me think he has some sort of social disability. In the middle of the book you definitely believe that the room is all within Bjorn’s imagination, which exacerbates the feelings that there is something socially off with Bjorn, even if he is a great worker. However, near the end, the author tries to leave it up in the air as to whether it was a big conspiracy on the part of the entire company (especially the higher-ups and long-standing employees) or if the room really did not exist. Karlsson kind of rushes the end and tries to make it seem very much like the end of Inception–is it, or isn’t it? But, I didn’t really fall for it.
The reading is very easy and quick. It flowed very well, even though it is a little here and there with stream of thought. It is a European book–a Swedish book. So, it has some Swedish culture and idiosyncrasies to it. The Swedish culture and lifestyle, as well as the Swedish bureaucracy is a bit different from America’s, so you have to keep that in mind–things work differently there than they do here.
It wasn’t really my favorite–I don’t tend to like realistic fiction, especially realistic “business” fiction, but some people do. If you want a protagonist to hate, or a fast read, I’d recommend it. Otherwise, it’s not really worth the bother.