Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Hurricane Party – Klas Östergren

The Hurricane Party’ was a penny purchase from amazon – and even if it turns out not to be a book to cherish you can’t go wrong at a penny (even including the £2.80 postage and packing where I assume, and hope, the bookseller manages to make a few more pence). Having easy and affordable access to almost any book I chance to hear of (in print or otherwise) is something that fills me with delight to the point that it feels like one of the privileges of modern life. I think I mentioned before that I’ve dithered over ‘The Hurricane Party’ for a while now; attracted to it because it was part of the Canongate myth series but put off because it seemed a little adrift of my usual fare and because it was pricey for a paperback.

As I definitely already mentioned I realised as soon as I read the back blurb (which is a bit different to the amazon description and one of the many reasons I miss finding books like this in real shops) that it probably wasn’t for me. Having read and digested I know it wasn’t for me, I’m just not suited to fiction of this sort – it seems that books set in the past (as opposed to written in the past) or set in the future bring out my most pedantic streak. All the time I read I found myself questioning the possibility of the world that Östergren had created and too often found myself picking holes in it to the point that I’m pretty sure I missed the point of the book. This is no reflection on ‘The Hurricane Party’ there are plenty of readers out there who will find it hits the spot exactly.

The basic premise of a man looking for answers after being told that his son has died of a heart attack was promising, the idea that a mafia style clan bearing a striking resemblance to the pantheon of old Norse gods is pulling the strings was attractive, but I don’t understand why it needed to be set in the future. I’m not sure either if the clan were indeed the gods themselves or not, or what was meant to be real and what was a drug induced hallucination on the part of the main character. Despite my reservations I never struggled to find the motivation to carry on reading, Hanck’s love for his son is compelling as is the retelling of the Edda but I’m more than ever resolved to stay away from anything bearing the description ‘set in a dystopian future’...

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