Jessica's Reviews > The Exception

The Exception by Christian Jungersen
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's review
Sep 25, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: kind-of-depressing, great-danes, chicklits, groups-of-people
Recommended for: aficionados of denmark, genocide
Read in August, 2007

Being as it's very educational for a novel, this book depressed the fuck out of me, and my view of humanity still has not fully recovered from reading it. The best parts were the sections on actual genocide, and the actual story and characters took awhile to engage me, but they eventually did. It's interesting to learn about the calm, stoic Danish people and their way of life, which evidently involves Scandinavian furniture, a terrible job market, being stalked by Serbian war criminals, and quietly torturing their havarti-munching coworkers.
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message 1: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica I thought about this book quite a bit this week because of my singularly horrific experience at work on Tuesday. Not because of the book's central conceit -- the analogy between office politics and human potential for evil -- but rather the more basic level how-does-this-really-gruesome-stuff-like-genocide-happen and what's-going-on-there in the Milborne experiment, or the low-level Nazi bureaucrat/gas chamber operator, and is this stuff lurking there, pretty easily accessible, in everyone, and what does that mean?

Basically, I lived my own Exception story this week, and I'm adding a star to this book today because even though the book's execution isn't spectacular, I've now personally experienced the truth and the urgency of its point, which is that this is in us. You can, like the characters in this novel, think about the mechanisms of cruelty and oppression and moral deformities wrought by power, all day long every day, and make your life's work the study and comprehension of a particular kind of horror, and at the end of it all, you're probably just a simple situation away from being just another one of those guys with the buzzer in the lab, with the shovel at Srebrenica.

There's nothing more human than inhumanity, I guess, is what I'm saying. I'm also saying I had a really bad time at work this week, and that having read this book helped me make sense of it somewhat. I'd give it a three for its merits as a novel, but proving useful in a time of crisis deserves an extra star for sure. Thanks, Chris!

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