One August day in 2008 the Norwegian Labour Party’s most colourful MP, Arve Storefjeld, is discovered in a remote cabin in the country, together with four of his family and friends, all with their throats slit. This unprecedented crime in the peaceful backwater of Norway sends shudders through the national psyche, as the search for the perpetrators begins and people have to adjust to the terrifying thought: it can happen here too. The rapidly unfolding events are narrated from the standpoints of three observers who in different ways become drawn in to the investigation: Ine Wang, a young journalist who has just finished a biography of Storefjeld and realises that the tragedy has presented her with an irresistible scoop; Peter Malm, a judge whose ideal of a quiet contemplative life away from public scrutiny is turned upside-down by his unwilling involvement in the case; and Nicolai Berge, a former boyfriend of one of the victims, who emerges as the main suspect and a focus for the public demand for catharsis. Published six years after the trauma of 22 July 2011, when 77 Norwegians were killed in a one-man assault on the government offices in Oslo and a Young Labour camp on the island of Utoya, Jan Kjærstad’s novel explores the vulnerabilities of modern life and the terrifying unpredictability of acts of terror.
Read an extract here.