Written by Ingvar Ambjørnsen
Number 1 in Elling
Genre: Contemporary, Norwegian
Original Language: English
Read from 2019-05-31 to 2019-06-05
Read in Norwegian
Review: Utsikt til Paradiset reads a bit like a whimsical, funny, feel-good story with a charming main character, but without you really realising what has happened, you suddenly find yourself at the receiving end of quite a robust gut-punch.
With the release of the new book about Elling I thought it would be a good time to catch up on the three of the old ones I haven’t already read. I read the most popular one, Brødre i Blodet (or just “Elling” in English), at school, and, remembering having quite enjoyed it, I was a little curious as to what I would think about these books now.
Judging by Utsikt til Paradiset I still like them. A lot.
The book is made up of the internal monologue of the main character, Elling, and it’s impossible not to like him. He sees himself as a regular, sometimes eccentric, man in his early thirties. It becomes obvious, though isn’t made explicit, that he has a condition that makes him (one could say enables him to) think about the world, and process the things he sees, in a very novel way. Most of the book is about him observing fractions of reality, and building up his own fantasies around them. It’s sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always extremely charming. We gradually learn more about Elling - and his problems - through the way he describes his behavior around others, as well as anecdotes from his life.
I keep coming back to this book being thoroughly charming. It’s a charming book with a bit of comedy, and the occasional touch of sadness. It’s thoughtful, slow in a good way, and really good.