17 Oct 2010

"The Exception" - an exceptional novel

It was my mum and dad who recommended "The Exception" by Danish author Christian Jungersen. So if you are part if the Scandinavian Reading Challenge, you have to read this review because this book is amazing. It is really really good.
The story line is quite complex and the story is told from the view points of four women, Anne-Lise, Iben, Malene and Camilla. The four women work at Danish Centre for Information about Genocide and one day two of them receive death threats.

As the story unfolds it becomes clear, the much more is happening beneath the surface and that these women are not who they appear to be. Iben is the dedicated academic who has devoted her life to work and her best friend, the man-eater Malene who from a very young age has suffered from crippling arthritis. Camilla is the quiet mother from the suburbs and Anne-Lise is the new woman in the office. As we get further into the story, it becomes very clear that the office atmosphere is rotting from a severe case of adult bullying. Events become more and more disturbing and what starts out as "mere" verbal bullying turns into criminal actions and life-threathening circumstances.

The book also focuses a lot on the nature of evil and the story is spiced with scientific facts and tales from the world of psychology. So not only is this a really disturbing and disturbingly good story about bullying and the evil inside all humans but also a great way to learn more about the way we perceive evil.

It is hard to tell more about the actual story without giving too much away. However, I really recommend this book. It is very very good and very exciting and it also made me think a lot about the way in which we can bully without actually really doing anything. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing - i.e. ignoring someone - is the worst form of bullying. Just like "We Need to Talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver, this is a book that is scary on so many levels that it is hard to sum it up - so therefore: just read it!

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