peteg's blog

Johan Harstad: Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. A pointer from Lisa Hill. Norwegian, in translation, set on the Faroe Islands. This is the story of a man being acted upon, of wanting to be number two, of hoping to go unnoticed and hence unscathed, of being a well-functioning cog amongst other well-functioning cogs, meaning and ambition be damned. There is something of The Remains of the Day here, and Trainspotting too (the death of baby Dawn, the "Now I know what you're thinking..." outro, and so forth). I'd heard about the Zen of Japanese gardening before, oh yes, from Nha Trang and Pensinger. What starts as a funny account of childhood and youth (dressing up as Buzz, getting the new girl, privately developing a singing superpower) becomes an account of mental disintegration after she leaves him; the humour shades into edgy melancholia, the writing more elliptic. Where he grows a beard, I grow my hair. Of course it evokes the classics of mental ill health: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Quantity Theory of Insanity, though it is never sour. Long, but. I totally missed the Cardigans's career, and can hardly remember even Lovefool (eww, Svensk pop).