Book review: The Room

The Room

The Room

The Room
(Rummet – in Swedish)
Jonas Karlsson

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


Watch the book trailer

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



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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.
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IFFP 2015 review: The Ravens

IFFP Shadow iffp2015logo

The Ravens

The Ravens cover


The Ravens
by Tomas Bannerhed,
translated from the Swedish
by Sarah Death

Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 16th, 2014
by Clerkenwell Press
First published March 15th, 2011
Original title: Korparna
ISBN13: 978-1846688997

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

 New Authors 2015   2015 Translation


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I’m not going to beat around the push and leave you hanging: The Ravens is without hesitation my favorite book among the books listed for the IFFP this year. I believe it is also my favorite read so far this year, out of 40 books to date. Alas, the book didn’t make it on the official shortlist, but at least it is on our Shadow Panel Shortlist.
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I love France #51: Book review: Syncopation


I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.



A Memoir of Adèle Hugo



240 pages

Published April 20th 2012 by Cornerstone Press
ISBN 0984673997 (ISBN13: 9780984673995)

Paperback received from the author


This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     hf-reading-challenge-2013     New Authors 2013



Rating system

Last Tuesday, I reviewed a historical novel on Victor Hugo and his daughter Léopoldine. And here is another one! Both books start from the same fact: Victor Hugo’s daughter, Léopoldine, drowned in a boat accident shortly after her wedding.

The parallel stops here. Just as Victor was deeply shocked by his loss, Léopoldine’s sister, Adèle, was also inconsolable. She does not seem to have really enjoyed her father’s séances where he tried to connect with his dead daughter, but Adèle seems to have been nevertheless very perturbed by the death of her very close sister. She soon started to show signs of mental illness and was eventually sent to a facility around Paris.

In this semi memoir semi historical novel, Adèle writes her own journal. At the end of many chapters, she communicates in imagination with Léopoldine, who reacts to her sister’s writing. In reality, Adèle did keep a diary for several years. Here we see her rewriting her life and events as she wishes to present them, not necessarily as they really happened.

Adèle’s free spirit clashed with the mentality of her time and the conservatism of her own father. We see her resisting the obligation to get married, her desire to get her music compositions published, all things not acceptable for a young lady of the time.

By the way, the title of the book sounds to me perfect to convey what happened to Adèle, using a technical term pertaining to her dear world of music.

I found the style of the book very charming and innovative, in the way it mixes history and fiction, sanity and madness, friendship and passion, and in the way Adèle’s voice was presented.

I enjoyed very much the depth and simplicity of the writing, where each word seems to have been very carefully selected.

It is also an interesting window on the Hugo’s family: Victor’s tough character, his political activities, his unfaithfulness to his wife, as well as hers, and the connections between their children. I had no idea that Adèle went even to Barbados, in the midst of a tempestuous relationship. And she did.

If you love the French classics and especially Victor Hugo, I highly recommend you to read this little unexpected gem, a great way of adding to your knowledge of this great author and his time.


 In nineteenth-century France, a woman’s role was explicitly defined: she was a daughter, then a wife, then a mother. This view was held by novelist and poet Victor Hugo, but not by his daughter, pianist and poet Adèle Hugo. Under such constraints, what’s a woman of passion to do? Syncopation, by Elizabeth Felt, breathes life into the unconventional thoughts of this controversial female figure. An elderly Adèle recounts her desperate attempts to gain personal freedom. Her memoir blurs the fine line between truth and madness, in a narrative that is off-kilter, skewed… syncopated [Goodreads]


Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

“In addition to writing, I teach English part-time at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

Before becoming a teacher, I worked for many years as a librarian: for a university (WSU), for a legislature (LA) and for a newspaper (Indpls Star).

Doing research is a lot like being a detective, and I enjoyed my time as a reference librarian. As a historical novelist, I combine my book fixation with my talent at finding obscure (but informative and authoritative!) internet sites.

I love to travel and have lived in Indiana, France, Indiana, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Germany and Wisconsin (in that order).

I’m an avid reader of nearly all genres and for all ages.  Currently, I teach a course on Children’s Literature, which allows me to read a lot of excellent kids’ books and call it work!

I enjoy working with writers, leading workshops, and talking with school children.  Please contact me at elizabethcfelt at if you’d like me to visit your bookstore, classroom, or conference.”

This was copied from her own blog. Please visit, she has for instance an interesting interview of Victor Hugo!


Goodreads readers




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