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Borderliners

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  2,184 ratings  ·  139 reviews
A haunting story of childhood travail and hope. Strange things are happening at The Biehl School when this elite academy opens its doors to a group of orphans and reform school rejects, kids at the end of the system's tether. But the school is run by a peculiar set of rules, in which every minute is regimented and controlled. The children soon suspect that they are guinea ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Picador (first published 1993)
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Harry
 photo PeterHoeg_zpsd039f547.jpg
Peter Hoeg

Once you have realized that there is no objective external world to be found, that what you know is only a filtered and processed version, then it is only a short step to the thought that, in that case, other people, too, are nothing but a processed shadow.

This is the experiment. There is no objective reality. Whatever we see is edited by our senses, what we see is nothing but our perception of it. The world exists because we are looking at it. And even other people aren't real, they a
...more
Abailart
Nearly finished. Enjoying most of all the peculiar leakage between moments in the textual flow which disturbs any idea of a neat linear process. The novel is about the tyranny of time, and has some aphoristic points to make, as would any writer dealing with time as content. Neatly done. A flatness of delivery, possibly reverberating with the emotional numbness which affects each character in different ways, then standing out here and there an image, or a sentence or two of vivid clarity.

The teat
...more
Christina
When you have children, you find out that you have so much to learn. Not all of it makes sense at first. One of the things I’ve had to learn, was how to praise my child. That if your child has climbed high up on top of something and she says ‘look at me’, you’re not supposed to say ‘oh how good you are’ but rather, ‘oh look how high you’ve climbed!’ You do this to praise the action, not the child itself, so the child doesn’t think it has to do such things to have value. I think.

In part, this nov
...more
Susan Emmet
I'd liked Smilla's Sense of Snow, so thought I'd try Hoeg's next book. Dark and frightening, it is the fictional tale (although there are big hints of autobiography) of Peter, without parents, in and out of various Danish "schools" for children in "abnormal" circumstances, without families, without supposed "normal" intelligence. Turns out that Biehl's Academy, where time and space are clearly defined and monitored, is actually part of a Big Deal to weed out darkness/abnormality in humanity. Pet ...more
Cynthia Davidson
"Understanding is something one does best when one is on the borderline,” Hoeg writes in this book. That wisdom can be applied to borderlines of all kinds, and the 'borderliners' who straddle them. In this novel the 'border' is (primarily) between the adult and adolescent worlds, which is inhabited by children at boarding schools, but also by the staff. Some of these adults are misfits, teetering on the border of mental illness. No child in their right mind would want to 'grow up' if it means em ...more
Ginny_1807
Capolavoro

Quando chi ama leggere si imbatte in un libro come questo, si sente come se fosse stato baciato dalla fortuna.
Un passaggio, tra i moltissimi indimenticabili:

"Il tempo lineare è inevitabile, è uno dei modi per restare aggrappati al passato, come punti su una linea, la battaglia di Poitiers, Lutero a Wittenberg, la decapitazione di Struensee nel 1772. Anche quello che scrivo qui, questa parte della mia vita, è ricordato in questo modo. Ma non è l'unico. La coscienza ricorda anche campi
...more
Cynthia Collu



Ci sono dei libri finiti - sembrerebbe - nel dimenticatoio, seppelliti dalla mille cose che nel frattempo ci hanno riempito la vita.
Alcuni di loro, li leggi e non gridi al miracolo, e invece il giorno dopo, una settimana dopo, un anno dopo, eccoli lì, con la forza delle frasi, forse solo una, una soltanto, ma ritorna, ingigantisce, diventa il libro intero e tu ti dici che quello è stato proprio un romanzo memorabile, e improvvisamente senti il bisogno di dirlo a tutti.
Ecco, per "I quasi adatti
...more
Ess Wynspinner
I came to this after reading Miss Smilla etc. and wow what an assault it was - I was truly and deeply unsettled by this psychological thriller. So many reviews already have most said. Peter Hoeg is brilliant and translated his works are fantastic - I would love to know what is lost and what is gained in translation of this novel. Seriously good, seriously terrifying, brilliantly written, just fantastic.
Tara
First time, in a very long time, that I've felt the need to underline passages...I've kept my pencil by my side. Looking forward to more Peter Høeg.
Femke
Simpelweg een vreemd boek. Bizar, verwarrend, met momenten een beetje saai, maar toch intrigerend en op een bepaalde manier goed geschreven. Verwacht je niet aan wat er op de achterflap omschreven staat, het boek gaat dan wel over probleemjongeren die opgenomen worden in het normaal onderwijs, je komt er vrij weinig over te weten. Met flarden tekst die niet altijd evenveel steek houden, plotselinge veranderingen van setting, vage omschrijvingen van gebeurtenissen en weinig diepgang in de persona ...more
Steve
Low 2. This roman a clef places so much emphasis on the author's philosophical treatment of the nature of time that the characters and plot remain in the shadows and are never fully drawn. Hoeg contrives a plot which has three emotionally scarred children placed in an academy serving as a front for a social darwinist experiment to fictionalise his own childhood experiences of social services, and to moralise on how adults can institutionalise a conceot such as time to condition children to expec ...more
Jeanne
Strange book.

Non-sequential (sort of) story line about a boy, Peter, who's been in institutions his whole life. He gets to a school that's being used as an experiment to incorporate both "normal" and "defective" students. He meets a girl, Katarina, who has plans for their own experiment in understanding time. She's recently orphaned. They both take responsibility for another boy, August, who killed his parents. The school's experiment fails when August kills himself. Peter's experiment continues
...more
Angela Mitchell
I love Peter Hoeg, who writes these odd, distinct, and incredibly memorable characters.

I discovered Borderliners after reading Hoeg's mainstream hit Smilla's Sense of Snow, and it's a gorgeous book -- at times a slightly dense and difficult read, but it's ultimately become one of my all-time favorites.

With inspired dashes of both Einstein and Darwin, Borderliners is a hugely rewarding book in spite of its occasional dryness, although I should warn you that it's not nearly as accessible or humor
...more
Mari
"Non esistono persone senza paura, solo attimi senza paura."

Una lettura difficile, per il tema trattato e soprattutto per lo stile narrativo.
E' la storia di Peter, un ragazzo con problemi comportamentali che attraverso un progetto sperimentale viene inserito in una scuola “normale” per dimostrare che la frequentazione di un ambiente del genere aiuterà lui e altri ragazzi con i suoi stessi problemi ad inserirsi nella società. In realtà i “quasi adatti” vengono utilizzati come cavie, vittime di v
...more
Mark Speed
I read this a full decade before the television-viewing world discovered that the Danish had an expertise in misery drama...

And what an awful and depressing tale it is. Three social misfits, in and out of care homes and occasionally drugged to zombification by the authorities to whose care they are entrusted. I was going through a miserable time myself when I read this Christmas present from a friend. Bizarrely, I was also hanging around a pub at the bottom end of Wardour Street (Soho) which was
...more
Missy Crowley
Changed my life. On my all time top 5!!



"Under duress, psychology and biology have admitted that there is a limit to the conditions to which living creatures may be subjected. That there is a limit to the amount of discipline, hard work, and firm structure that children can bear.

"But mathematics is limitless. Because there are no lower and upper limits, there is only infinity. Maybe this, as they say, is in itself neither bad nor good. But there, where we met it-as a manifestation of time, as f
...more
Donatella
E' un libro terribile, una storia di piccoli e grandi soprusi da parte di un mondo che accetta o rifiuta i bambini in base a discutibili parametri e ne considera alcuni adatti ed altri non adatti. Uno strano esperimento "scientifico" estrapola dal secondo gruppo alcuni bambino definiti "quasi adatti".
Storia raggelante e, purtroppo, con precisi riferimenti autobiografici.
Alison Fogarty
Good in parts. Dragged in others.
Isadora Goudsblom
I loved this book, it was deeply enthralling and beautifully poetic. However, it was also very somber and whilst not reading it I found myself wondering off into the world of the borderliners, which trust me, is not joyous.
J M
Worth reading, and rereading, and then rereading. One thing you'll notice is that there is no mention about surroundings, no music from a radio somewhere, no mention about voices of the 240 kids on the school corridors - you'd almost want to say it's an eloquent silence. I once thought I should probably write a fiction about certain things that I've seen but cannot directly share for some reasons. Now I see that book has been written and I can do something else. No matter how it sounds, reading ...more
Heidi
Peter Høeg: Rajatapaukset (1993, suom.1994) / lukiessa toivoin, että en olisi aloittanut kirjaa ja kun pääsin loppuun olin iloinen, että luin kirjan. Koulu, joka mittaa ihmisen arvon lineaarisella aika-akselilla, johtaa rajatapausten tuhoon tai uudelleensyntyyn. Ja paljon puhetta ajasta: mikä on ikuista ja mikä suhteellista?

A book I wish I had not started and once finished I'm glad I did read it. Schooling system that values people/kids by measuring time as a linear system will doom "the inbetw
...more
Ruth
Apr 13, 2014 Ruth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Traveller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Igmugleska Jewels nieschulz
Borderliners opens your eyes (or, rather, re-opens them) to the way people perceive space and time, primarily from childhood through adolescence. It is a fictional account of the lives of three adolescents making their way through the institutional systems of Denmark. Their fears, thoughts, and plans unfold while engrossing you in a thought process both unexpected and enlightenting. Excellent book. Recommend it to anyone who wants to expand their mind and enjoy a heartbreaking story at the same ...more
Mary
Fascinating. Strong psychological tension. Set in an elite private school, Biehl's Academy, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the 1970's. The three main characters: Peter who has grown up in institutions, Katarina who is recently orphaned, and August who is a psychotic child who has murdered his parents after years of abuse, discover that the school is using them in an experiment in controlling children. Themes: education, childhood, nature of time.

"The world is made up of disconnected consciousnesses,
...more
Eva Lavrikova
Trochu skľučujúce, v zásade smutné, ale nie
sentimentálne. Premýšľavé a bystré, ale nie zbytočne premúdrelé.
Je to o súkromnej internátnej škole v Dánsku v 70. rokoch, o nie úplne
radostných pomeroch, o vnútorných pochodoch hlavného hrdinu (ktorý je síce
považovaný za podpriemerne nadaného, napriek tomu to však rozhodne nie je
slaboduché chlapča) a najmä o čase. A nech to znie hoc ako vágne, zaujímavých
myšlienok tam nie je málo, okrem tých "zjavných právd", ktoré každý sám v sebe
tak nejak vie.

"Bez Ka
...more
Ira
If I could have educators read one book to learn from, this would be it. Peter Hoeg's brutal tale of inclusion gone horrifically wrong in 1960s Denmark challenges, through the purest of childhood voices, everything you think you know about school.

This is the book which taught me that "the first technology of school is time." The book which explains why integration of every kind has so often failed in US schools. The book which destroys every argument for standardized testing and every argument
...more
Irene
Narrated by Peter, who has grown up in institutions and is given one last shot to make it in "normal" society, Borderliners is set in the sealed-off world of Beihl's Academy during the 1970's. There is something strange going on at Beihl's and Peter, his friend Katarina, and his charge August are determined to figure out what it is. This is a page turning, psychological thriller that explores societal norms and the nature of time.

The teachers and Beihl himself use discipline and fear to control
...more
Jana Maasik
"When you assess something, you are forced to assume that a linear scale of values can be applied to it. Otherwise no assessment is possible. Every person who says of something that it is good or bad or a bit better than yesterday is declaring that a points system exists; that you can, in a reasonably clear and obvious fashion, set some sort of a number against an achievement.But never at any time has a code of practice been laid down for the awarding of points. No offense intended to anyone. Ne ...more
Stephanie "Jedigal"
I chose this for my most recent book club selection, based on the synopsis, the high rating, and the fact that I'd seen and loved the movie Smilla's Sense of Snow.

I don't wish to belabor points already raised by so many reviewers before me, so I'll just comment on how I experienced it. To be candid, I didn't like it very much the first time (though I wouldn't have said it was bad). Because I had to lead the upcoming book club discussion, I read it again, and the second time through I really enj
...more
Camilla
Before this, I had read one other novel by Peter Hoeg: Miss Smilla's Sense of Smell. Reading translations interests me: to what extent has the translator managed to convey the sense of the author's style, how much of the style is that of the language, what is missing, what has been added...

This novel is about a children's home in which an experiment is being conducted. We view the experiment through the eyes of one of the children. Sometimes it's easy to see where an idea is a childish fantasy a
...more
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Peter Høeg was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before becoming a writer, he worked variously as a sailor, ballet dancer, and actor. He published his first novel, A History of Danish Dreams (1988), to positive reviews. However, it was Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1992), a million-copy best seller, that earned Høeg immediate and international literary celebrity. His books have been published in more than th ...more
More about Peter Høeg...
Smilla's Sense of Snow The Quiet Girl The Woman and the Ape The Elephant Keepers' Children The History Of Danish Dreams

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“Once you have realised that there is no objective external world to be found; that what you know is only a filtered and processed version, then it is a short step to the thought that, in that case, other people too are nothing but a processed shadow, and but a short step more to the belief that every person must somehow be shut away, isolated behind their own unreliable sensory apparatus. And then the thought springs easily to mind that man is, fundamentally, alone. That the world is made up of disconnected consciousnesses, each isolated within the illusion created by its own senses, floating in a featureless vacuum.
He does not put it so bluntly, but the idea is not far away. That, fundamentally, man is alone.”
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“Those who were on the inside, the majority that is, for them it had been hard to get his point, mostly they were just pleased that they were on the inside, that they were the fittest.
For those on the outside, the fear and abandonment amounts to almost everything; everybody knows that.
Understanding is something one does best when one is on the borderline.”
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