It was hard to leave the house on this wet and windy evening, but getting together with the Whodunit group was worth it! Fifteen members braved the night to attend June's meeting.
This month we discussed "The redbreast" by Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo. Remarkably, it received a score of 8.03 out of 10 when we went around the circle. This is slightly behind last month's novel, but a good score all the same. 12 of the 15 members present said they would read more by this author.
The score is all the more outstanding when you realize that almost all of us found the book hard to get into, with a complex and intricate plot which meant that it was a slow read. It was a book that you couldn't skim through. There was just 'enough' detail and description that proved that Jo Nesbo is a really top quality writer. The book was so well translated from the Norwegian that it maintained the underlying humour amidst the often bleak and serious plot. It had a slightly different rhythm than other books we have read. Most agreed that the second half of the novel was a faster read and more than made up for the slow start.
"The Redbreast" features Detective Harry Hole of the Oslo police. He is an alcoholic but has been pulled back together with the help of his work partner Ellen Gjelten. Harry Hole was a character liked by the group overall. He had a lot of baggage and flaws, but we seem to like our protagonists that way. :-) A favourite character for many Whodunit members was Ellen Gjelten. She seemed the perfect foil to the flawed and needy protagonist Harry Hole. Readers were very disappointed when she was killed off in the story, but realized at length that her death was a much needed catlayst to ensure that Harry Hole moved on with his life. The scenes where Harry telephoned her after her death and left messages touched the readers and showed the compassion and empathy of the author.
The plot featured flashbacks to WWII which showed the North American reader a different perspective on the war. It portrayed the brutality of war which is equally devastating for both sides of the fight.
It is important to note that although "The Redbreast" is actually the third entry in the Harry Hole series of novels, it is the first in the series to be translated into the English language.
We learned a little bit about the author. Although he didn't begin writing until he was in his late thirties, he has sold millions of books that have been translated into over forty languages and won many literary prizes. He is a member of a rock band in Norway called "Di Derre" which translates to "Them there". He has worked both as a journalist and as a stockbroker before he began his writing career. He was also a talented footballer (ie. soccer player).
The lucky Whodunit members of the book giveaways this month were: