More blood? #NordicFINDS23

© C A Lovegrove

Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbø,
Mere Blod (2015)
translated by Neil Smith.
Vintage Books, 2016.

Finnmark is the furthest north you can go in Norway, further from the capital than Oslo itself is from London or Paris, so what reason has southerner Jon Hansen for being here? Is he really here to hunt grouse as he claims, or is he himself being hunted?

Nesbø knew this area in the 1970s and so its able to give his descriptions of the desolate Finnmark coastal countryside an especial realism for a thriller set in the same period. And the isolated Sámi communities – either engaged in herding or fishing, and either strict Protestant or traditional in their beliefs – mean any visiting strangers will understandably elicit a degree of curiosity.

Ulf – as Hansen says he’s called – gradually reveals details of his sordid Oslo life in this first person narrative, and we gradually piece together how precarious his position now is. And all is complicated by the fact that he is starting to feel an attachment to one individual in the community, and developing an easy relationship with that individual’s young son, Knut.

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