Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The sharp use of language and metaphor in Karin Alvtegen's Shadow to depict a bleak loveless world is quite brilliant. It might have a little bit to do with the translator McKinley Burnett.

Maybe it was a trophy he sought, something to decorate the Ragnerfeldt family living room. But when the plain pine of her talent was revealed it turned out to clash with the elegant mahogany of the bookshelf.

And an even more horribly bitter word picture:

A woman was like a distant city in the night. From far off the lights glittered like magical jewels, tempting and enticing with all their promises and possibilities. But close up the city looked like all the others. Full of buildings that needed renovation and with rubbish along the kerbs.

The blurb on the back cover tells me "Shadow is an unputdownable story.......... " and they are right.
But it is also one of those books with such strong well drawn characters that you want to take your time to appreciate the dysfunctional state of affairs.
When reading crime fiction I always tend to identify the story's characters with people I have known, and if you can do that with Karin Alvtegen's creations you are pleased you have managed to survive these real life encounters reasonably sane.


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