Monday, 30 March 2015

Book Club #13 - The Room by Jonas Karlsson

Despite still not fully believe that I'm a book blogger, I cheekily signed up to the Blogging for Books scheme. Which is essentially free books in exchange for a review. I also decided that this helps with my book buying ban, as technically I'm not buying the books. OH YEAH. Win, win baby! Anyhoo, my first book ended up being The Room by Jonas Karlsson. Originally written by a Swedish actor-turned-writer, I was completely unsure as to what it would be like. Are Swedish actors good writers? Or is he a writer because he was a rubbish actor? I've no idea! What I did know, is that I quite like the style of Swedish writers (if there is a style?) so I gave The Room a chance. 

The Room is narrated by Bjorn. He's just started a new job, and he's already aiming for the top. From sussing out the hierarchy of the office, to working out where everything is so he doesn't have to ask anyone, Bjorn is a man with a plan. This all changes, of course, when he notices the room. I won't go into too much detail about it, but I found it a really interesting focus of the story. I'm pretty sure The Room is a satirical novel, somewhat reminiscent of an Orwell novel - Bjorn works for the Authority, which reminded me of Big Brother a little bit - and as Bjorn is an unreliable narrator, you never really know what's actually happening. He disregards his colleagues for really basic reasons - such as not liking someone's jacket - and to him, it's completely rational. At one point, a staff member ignores him, but instead of feeling snubbed, he reckons that they're just trying to prove their worth in the office, which he finds commendable. I did really like this, though. I often find that some of the best characters are the ones you don't really like, but make you think about things, and Bjorn is definitely like that. 

It's a short story, being less than 200 pages, so I managed to complete it within a day. Despite this, I really enjoyed what I read, and I would be interested to see if Jonas Karlsson has anything else translated into English. 

Have you heard of this before? Do you like translated novels? 

Chelsea xo
*I received this book in return for a review, but all words are completely my own!*

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