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Shame

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,069 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
At first sight, Monika and Maj-Britt are as different as two people can possibly be. They have nothing in common but the determination to obliterate their memories and be left alone. When a tragic accident forces them to confront each other, the emotional void at the centre of their lives threatens to engulf them.
Paperback, 343 pages
Published May 3rd 2007 by Canongate Books (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Karen
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, scandinavian
Monica, is a successful, well regarded surgeon and physician who is ashamed of something in her past. She can't develop any meaningful relationships with anyone and pushes anyone who gets close quickly away.

Maj-Britt, hiding from the world behind an endless supply of food, requires help just to live, she is so obese. Locked in her apartment away from the world, Maj-Britt is deeply ashamed of something in her past.

Monica and Maj-Britt don't know each other, yet somehow, because of a conference, a
...more
Elise Hamilton
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Oh what a waste of good reading time. The book started out interestingly enough, but by mid-book, I felt as though I was reading the same words over and over again, and that it had been written for adolescent readers even though the plot was not for kids, that's for sure. I speed-read through the second half. It didn't get any better. It was a completely implausible situation. I'm surprised to read that it was short-listed for a Crime Readers whatever.

There are so many good books, and so little
...more
Ellie
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shame by Karin Alvtegen is a study of two women (three, if you count the significant but background character of Vanja). Monika is a successful surgeon who saves lives to compensate for the life she didn't save. She is in love with a stereotypically "wonderful" man, who is deeply in love with her, but who is haunted by a sense of failure, not only in actions but in her very being. MajBrit is a morbidly obese woman who eats to bury (literally-in mounds of flesh) her own shame, rooted (unsurprisin ...more
John
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Monika is a successful, highly paid doctor, recently unnerved by the fact that for the first time she's fallen in love. She puts off the courageous act of confessing to Thomas the secret shame that burdens her: that, when she was a child and fire gutted the family home, she was unable to save her beloved elder brother Lasse. Maj-Britt is a monstrously obese woman who hasn't stirred out of her flat for years and takes satisfaction in driving away through sheer nastiness the succession of home hel ...more
CuteBadger
A psychological tale of two women, each struggling with the consequences of a past event, who are brought together following an accident. Both are shaped by their past, but how much do they allow it to influence their future?

I suppose this book is classed as part of the crime genre, but it's more a psychological study of how our past actions can live with us and allow their consequences to poison our futures. It also deals with an individual's perception of how they acted in a particular situati
...more
Therese Svensson
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Faktiskt riktigt bra, både kring handling och skildring av karaktärerna. Maj-britt, en texas-sized kvinna som aldrig lämnar lägenheten och som terroriserar hemtjänsten, är en omsorgsfullt skapad karaktär med dynamik och som man både älskar och hatar.
Melania
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Când un tragic accident rutier aduce laolaltă două femei care nu se cunoşteau, nici una nu are habar cum i se va schimba viaţa.Violente secrete de familie, aflate în centrul vieţii amândurora, ameninţă să iasă la suprafaţă şi, încetul cu încetul, cele două sunt forţate să facă faţă secretului pe care l-au purtat cu ele în permanenţă. O dramă existenţială despre puterea fricii şi capacitatea minţii de a reprima lucrurile care sunt prea dureroase pentru a fi reamintite; despre consecinţele fatale ...more
Johanna Haglund
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Välskrivet och tät stämning. Lite förutsägbart och tillrättalagt stundvis för att nå hela vägen till full pott.
Laura P
A really promising start but I found myself loosing interest towards the end. Although I did like the way it ended. Some very thought provoking parts, especially the bits about religion and death
Hannah Fullmer
This is the second book I've read by Karin Alvtegen, and I did not enjoy it as much as her novel Missing.
I had several problems with Shame. First of all, the two main characters are hard to like. Monika is a doctor who carries an extreme sense of guilt over something that occurred in her past. Because of this, she believes she needs to subjugate herself, and denies herself romance and friendship. The second character, Maj-Brit, is a morbidly obese woman who has chosen to remain housebound, and w
...more
Rogue Reader
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-sweden
Shame, by Sweden's Karin Alvtegen (Felony & Mayhem, 2010) might as well have been titled Guilt. The stories of two women, Monika - chief surgeon at a regional hospital and Maj-Britt - a woman immobilized by obesity, are central to the work. Both are scarred by young adult experiences that walled off their emotions, and isolated them from others. They've spent a lifetime coping in their own ways, with anger or denial, trying to repress the experiences that shaped their outlook and destroyed t ...more
M M
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Karin Alvtegen's Shame is an excellent character study marred by a loose denouement. As long as the character development proceeds, it is engrossing enough, although I found it rather difficult to empathise with the motivations of the deeply flawed doctor, who is one of the two women whose lives eventually intersect in tragedy. Monika has lived under the suppurating, slowly strangling shadow of her dead brother and her mother's hatred; to compensate for the inadequacy and incompleteness she has ...more
Mallory
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it
This is not my typical kind of book, but I'm glad I picked it up. It felt different from anything I'd ever read before, and not in a bad way. It's a very quiet, subtle book, extremely introspective and lonely. The plot can feel a little too coincidental and contrived, but the events of the text are secondary to the lingering past and its shame.

While there were moments in this book that were beautiful and touching and well-written, other moments felt ham-fisted and awkward. Alvtegen likes her rep
...more
Bella Grewal
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Huvudpersonerna är två kvinnor som lever helt olika liv. Den ena, Maj-Britt, har inte gått utanför sin lägenhetsdörr på 30 år. Hon är gravt överviktig och har en sträng religiös uppväxt bakom sig.
Kvinna nummer två, Monika, är i allmänhetens ögon synnerligen lyckad. Flott lägenhet, snygg och chefsläkare. Deras liv vävs samman på ett märkligt sätt. Boken är spännande från första sidan och handlar om skammen att inte vara älskad, rädsla för Gud och förbjuden sexualitet.

Maj-Britt har på grund av s
...more
Bill
I've read 4 of Karin Alvtegen's books and have enjoyed every one. Shame was excellent. It's usually found in the mystery section, but really, it's about situations and people and how these situations are resolved. And when Karin Alvtegen is writing the story, the resolution is very well-crafted. The two main characters in this book are Monika, a successful doctor, and Maj-Britt, an extremely over-weight home-ridden bitter woman. Both have issues and in many ways are broken. Gradually through the ...more
Shilpa
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed-books
Touted as a psychological thriller at par with the works of Morag Joss and Patricia Highsmith, I did not find it so.

Monika and Maj-britt are two women who mask their present in a vain effort to avoid confronting their past. Monika Lunvall works contimuously to escape the guilt and Maj-britt is a clinically-obese-woman who continually abuses her nurse to stop memories of her past seep into her mind. A letter written by someone from their past throws them together and each woman has to decide to
...more
M
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Monika and Maj-Britt couldn't be more dissimilar: Monika is a wealthy physician, and Maj-Britt is a morbidly obese woman living alone, dependent on public social services for even her basic needs. But the two do share something--crippling shame and guilt that is expressed by Monika's perfectionist control over herself, and Maj-Britt's need to dominate her caregivers. For both of them the past is a locked door that must never be opened. Until one day Maj-Britt receives a letter from an old friend ...more
Deanna
Oct 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book very much. I'm having a hard time putting into words exactly what I liked about it. It made me think about many things about life - how some things are just meant to be. How easily we as people can help someone get through something horrible by saying "it wasn't your fault, it was an accident", yet when it comes to ourselves we never see it that way..if that makes any sense. We can give advice so quickly, but are not as quick to take it ourselves.

I'm not sure who I wo
...more
verbava
May 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
абсолютно дратівна книжка. з абсолютно дратівними персонажами і сльозливитискальним фіналом (утім, то не той тип текстів, які можуть мене розплакати).
найбільша mystery в цій книжці – чому її називають трилером і mystery novel. це радше якась скандинавська мелодрама: з традиційним підґрунтям із авторитарної релігії, почуття провини, жорстоких сімей, поламаної психіки і скелетів у шафі, – але без mystery, зате з фіналом, у якому всі стають хороші. от чесно, приблизно перші дві третини воно було до
...more
Kelyedah
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Boring. Aburrido. El libro comienza bien, una introducción de los personales adecuada, interesante incluso. Y según avanza la novela, se convierte en un círculo de acciones que simplemente.... No llegan a ninguna parte. Los diálogos internos de los personajes son tambien circulares, predecibles, repetitivos. No es una novela negra, no sé qué es... Pero es aburrida y después de leerla te quedas con la sensación de que falta algo. O mucho. Falta acción, falta trama, falta más desarrollo de los per ...more
Ellie M
Oct 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2013
Before reading I had shelved this as a thriller but I'd class it more as just a work of fiction which despite having an interesting story was not an edge-of-your-seat sort of read even though the blurb might have suggested otherwise.

The books is based around the story of two women, both who have secrets from the past they wish to forget. Due to an accident and a couple of coincidences the paths of the two women cross and as they become interlinked a sort of power games plays out. I enjoyed the
...more
Helen
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An uncomfortable book to read - I took it quite slowly and found I needed other things on the go too to lessen the gloom. She is a good writer of psychological thrillers (not really what I would call a crime writer at all in the usual sense, although she is sometimes listed with them). The two main characters (three if you count the distant Vanja) are women who have been damaged by their parents and by past events, and both have spent years on a course of self-destruction, seemingly unable to ta ...more
laura m
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: euro/scandi crime fiction readers
pretty masterfully written, you could never guess lives of totally unconnected individuals could end up so intertwined by fate. it stars off totally innocent and gets darker and darker, making you worry what will certain persons do, you want to help them if you only could.
the end surprised me a bit, there weren't any big revelations or crimes or anything at all in this book, just an omnipresent heavy feeling of guilt and the will to absolve oneself and start to live without the burden.
hope I'll
...more
Pilvi
Guilt. That's what this book is about. Guilt about things done or not done. Understanding the minds of the main characters weren't that easy. How can the human mind bend so much and not fight back? Where's the basic survival instinct? It's also scary to think how much your parents can do to your mental health, even without meaning it. Alvtegen had an unforeseeable way to make the lives of the main characters to meet. This was a psychological book. It wasn't one of the best book of ages, but at l ...more
Johanna
Ensimmäinen lukemani Karin Alvtegen. Hienosti rakennettu psykologinen jännäri, tavallaan arkiset tapahtumat ovatkin uhkaavia ja vievät kohti tuhoa. Juuri niin kuin ihmisen psyyke välillä toimii. Kirja on vähän kuin se valvottu yö, jolloin tuntuu että seinät kaatuvat päälle ja maailma romahtaa, mutta toisin kuin tosielämässä aamulla ei ehkä olekaan ihan tavallista. Tässä pääsi todellakin kurkistamaan henkilöiden pään sisään. Jos tämän Helmet-haasteeseen käytän, niin ruma kansi on todennäköisin va ...more
Tricia Douglas
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
This was the second book that I've read by Alvtegen. The plot is unique and provides the reader with the need to plug along. Little by little the details are described by the two main characters: a doctor and an obese woman and how they are connected. Many of their problems stem from their strange childhoods. Well written and very compelling. I just couldn't "love" the characters. They seemed cold to me, but then, maybe that was what Alvtegen intended.
Sarah El kady
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
totally brilliant...this is the second book I read by Karin, her writings are captivating, they are smooth the way you read from one plot to another, but what's really special are here characters how she woven them from how they act to how they think.
shame is a masterpiece to me, its an insight on how shameful secrets could affect a person and that the past always has a say on how we are shaped.
Meagan Houle
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
At first, I wasn't sure about this book at all. The characters were a bit on the dull side, and some of their motivations didn't make much sense to me. As the book progressed, though, I was pulled in. It's a tough book to review, because you have to read it to really get it. All I'll say is that all the characters are joined together in unexpected ways, and it doesn't come off as horribly contrived. It even manages to have a somewhat happy ending!
Veronica
Jul 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A talented doctor and an obese woman both has shameful pasts which they hide. One by helping others and one by eating. They don't know each other but through some events their paths cross.

I didn't really know what to expect when I started to read this, but I was not satisifed at the end. It felt like I was awaiting some huge embarassing moments and I read fast just to get rid of it. Not my cup of tea.
Sancho
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I must confess that I read this book just for my Swedish course. However, I actually enjoyed reading it, as it was engaging and well written. I usually enjoy stories where separate/parallel lives come together and connections appear from the least expected direction.

It touches upon controversial subjects, such as morbid obesity and self-pitty/shame. Recommended!
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The Queen of Crime in Scandinavia.

Missing was awarded the premier Scandinavian crime writing award the Glass Key in 2001 and was also nominated for the Poloni Award and Best Crime Novel 2000 in Sweden.

Shame was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie International Dagger award for crime novels in translation upon publication in English.

Alvtegen lives in Stockholm. She is grand
...more
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