The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
I do appreciate exactly how behind the times I am to only be reading and reviewing The Redbreast now.
The Redbreast was a page turner and kept me intrigued for a few days. However, while all the hype around Jo Nesbo compares him to Steig Larsson, I don’t necessarily believe that to be the case. In my mind, Jo Nesbo is placed somewhere along the continuum between Harlan Coben and Steig Larsson. In all honesty, the complexity of plot and original characters created by Larsson make me doubt if another writer of his calibre will emerge any time soon. This being said, I can guiltily admit to not finishing The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. I gave up at the earlier end of about 60 pages of political history, losing the will to continue. I also lost some faith when two characters had the same name; this was explained in a footnote but for heaven’s sake, it is fiction. Change a name in order to avoid confusing the readers!
I found The Redbreast to be quite thought provoking. Set at the turn of the millennium, Nesbo’s crime story delves back into WW2, the Nazi invasion and Norwegian resistance. In some ways it is a novel of Nazism and Neo-Nazism, the two surprisingly at odds with each other. It left me thinking about choices faced by young men and women at the time and Nesbo creates a fascinating parallel between modern Norwegian society and the small elderly population who survived WW2. Feeling excluded from the modern, optimistic Norway, they are unable to move on from what happened in the war. I don’t know much about Norwegian history so I found all of this interesting.
Despite the fact no gaudy knitted jumpers are worn, I liked Harry Hole as a detective and will read more of his novels. After finishing The Redbreast I didn’t immediately begin Nemesis, the second book in the Oslo sequence, as I had hoped I would. If there was a bit more substance in the writing – especially the WW2 flashbacks – perhaps I would have. However, I am sure I will get back to Harry Hole quite soon as I found his adventures an enjoyable way to while away a couple of afternoons. As much as I am keen to see what happened to Harry in Australia, I am going to read the series in the order they were published in English.
The Redbreast: 4 Stars
- The Redbreast – Jo Nesbø, tr. Don Bartlett (avidmysteryreader.com)
- ‘The Bat’ by Jo Nesbø (camlind73.wordpress.com)
- After an Oslo Winter, a Dutch Treat Is Just the Thing (wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com)