Friday 17 August 2012

Book review : Some Kind of Peace - Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff

When I read the information on the back cover of Some Kind of Peace, I saw a few things that I found slightly off-putting. Not only is it written by a duo of authors but it is also one of a series and is translated from the original Swedish, so I was expecting a slightly halting, clumsy style of narrative. I was amazed to see, however, that the writing is seamless and at times beautifully lyrical, painting an evocative picture of the pine-scented, forest-fringed lakeside cottage and its surroundings.

The central character, Siri, is a complex collection of paradoxes - she is totally in-control as a therapist but is utterly manipulated by her unknown tormentor, she is strong but fragile and vulnerable, able to analyse and cure other people's anguish but not her own, still sleeping with the lights on since her husband's tragic death several years before.

I never think of therapists and pyschologists, who I tend to view (surely rather stereotypically) as quite stern and controlling, as messed-up individuals themselves, so it was a breath of fresh air to see Siri and her friend/colleague Aina going out to drunken parties, having chaotic love lives and bringing their own emotional baggage with them. This also left me slightly wrong-footed so I was constantly expecting the unexpected, knowing things probably wouldn't pan out as I thought (which was totally right).

For much of the book, I couldn't work out if Siri was an innocent victim being harassed by a crazy psycho stalker, if she was her own worst enemy and deserved everything she got or whether, perhaps, the whole thing was actually a figment of her own anguished imagination and copious amounts of cheap red wine. The authors keep up this sense of incertitude, throwing in endless red herrings and suggested leads so you never really know where the story will take you.

It's a tense, gripping read that will keep you guessing up until the final pages. Paul Norlen has done a fantastic job of translating, so don't be put off if you normally avoid translated novels.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857209469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857209467
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

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  1. This sounds like a good book. Though when you first described how it was written and the translation part, I had the same reaction. Adding it to my TBR pile

  2. I like the sound of that, will add it to my mile-long wish list on amazon. :) I love Scandinavian thrillers.

  3. As someone who has a degree in psychology, I think that describes us spot on, lol. Sounds like a good read

  4. reading most reviews on books, its extremely handy.


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