Welcome to my first review! I went back and forth quite a bit trying to decide whether I should review an old favourite, or something brand new and I eventually decided on the latter — there’s plenty of time to revisit the classics in the future, right?
The novel I’ve chosen is Doppler by Erlend Loe. I picked this one up mainly because of the cover (what can I say? there’s no moose pretending) but it turned out very quickly to be completely worth it. The basic premise is that a man, Doppler, falls off his bike one day and hits his head causing him to realize that he’s tired of the material life he’s been leading and feels he wants more out of life. Shortly thereafter he moves into the forest nearby his village and meets a young moose, whose mother he’s just killed for meat. Throughout the novel the two form an unlikely bond and become somewhat of a family to one another, in spite of the fact that Doppler already has a family — a wife and two children.
The novel is written first person, in short bursts of narration over the course of 8 months. It’s a hard novel to put down, partially because it’s a pretty quick read, but also because of the character of Doppler who is at once enigmatic and deeply philosophical, sort of lost yet also wise, draws you in. The other characters which the book dwells on are all very interesting, including the son of a German soldier who is obsessed with re-creating the scene of his father’s death with models, and a daughter obsessed with Tolkien who prefers to speak Elvish.
At times, I got a bit of a “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” vibe, minus the split personality. Doppler is a very intelligent (and quirky) character who sees the world in very different ways, and finds his solace through isolation, manual labour, and meditation. He contemplates the state of the world and of his own life, trying with all his might for some sense of connectivity with nature and with himself and his family.
Until next time: Happy Reading!