The Room

The Room

The Room
(Rummet – in Swedish)
by
Jonas Karlsson

Translator:
Neil Smith


Publisher:  Hogarth Books / Penguin – Random House
ISBN: 978-0804139984

Pages: 192
US publication date: 2/17/2015

Genre:  Literary fiction
Source: Received from the publisher through Blogging for Books

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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

This book counts for the
following Reading Challenges

2015 Translation  New Authors 2015

 New-Release-Challenge

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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Wow, this is the second book translated from the Swedish I review this year, and both dealing with some type of mental illness! If The Ravens could very well end up being my favorite novel of the year, The Room was definitely a very interesting piece of literature.

Björn (whose name we discover only late in the book) is trying to move up the ladder in his new company, after his success at his former job.  He works hard, including taking work back home, to be quickly successful. But he focuses only on his own ambitious goals and despises his colleagues. Compulsive, he has basically no social skills. He is always right, knows the truth, and wants to correct others. He develops his own world, theories, truth, and logic.

I suddenly felt how lonely it is, constantly finding yourself the only person who can see the truth in this gullible world.
p. 121

He discovers a “room” by mistake and starts really obsessing about it. He goes “there” often to find order and comfort. The problem is, he does not understand why his colleagues don’t want to acknowledge that “room”. He tries to understand why this “room” is so secret. Could it be a prank from his jealous colleagues? Little by little, the staff gets angry at him and his weird and manipulating behavior. Especially that he seems to be able to get brilliant at some work projects.

I really enjoyed how the author tackled the theme of mental illness in the context of the work place. This one looks like the office from hell! The author does a great job with the evolution of relationships between the characters, and how the boss tries to keep everything and everyone together. The end is an interesting way of dealing with a dead-end situation!

VERDICT: Interesting literary novel dealing with mental illness in the work place. Recommended if you enjoy expanding your reading horizon.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Funny, clever, surreal, and thought-provoking, this Kafka-esque masterpiece introduces the unforgettable Bjorn, an exceptionally meticulous office worker striving to live life on his own terms.

Bjorn is a compulsive, exacting bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works–a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his coworkers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn’s bizarre behavior eventually leads his coworkers to try to have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room. Author Jonas Karlsson doesn’t leave a word out of place in this brilliant, bizarre, delightful take on how far we will go–in a world ruled by conformity–to live an individual and examined life. [Goodreads]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karlsson

Photo: © Appendix Fotografi

 

JONAS KARLSSON writes plays and short fiction.
One of Sweden’s most prominent actors,
Karlsson has performed on Sweden’s premier stage
and in several acclaimed feature films and television series.
In 2005, Karlsson made his debut as a playwright,
earning rave reviews from audience and critics alike.
Spurred by the joy of writing for the stage,
Karlsson began writing fiction.


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What other novel translated from the Swedish
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