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Shadow

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,105 ratings  ·  106 reviews
In a nondescript apartment block in Stockholm, most of the residents are elderly. Usually a death is a sad but straightforward event. But sometimes a resident will die and there are no friends or family to contact. This is when Marianne Folkesson arrives, employed by the state to close up a life with dignity and respect. Gerda Persson has lain dead in her apartment for ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Canongate Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,105 ratings  ·  106 reviews


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Fictionophile
The single most positive aspect of this novel is the beautifully written prose. The words seem to speak directly to the reader in a heart-touching and sometimes heart-wrenching way.
I’ll admit this is one of those novels where the cover art drew me in. Who can resist an adorable little boy?
Then I read the blurb at the back which told me that this little boy was abandoned and was somehow connected to the death thirty five years later of a 92 year old woman who had books in her freezer upon her
...more
LitAddictedBrit
Without wanting to appear negative, I didn’t like this book much at all.

The story starts with the abandoned young boy and quickly moves to the death of Gerda Persson. The books of Nobel Prize winner Axel Ragnerfeldt are found in the freezer and so we begin.

Straight away, the characters are really difficult to like - we have a recovering alcoholic prone to wandering off into rambling social commentary (which has no relevance to the story and seems to be a way for the author to vent her views), a
...more
Toni Osborne
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Did you ever wonder why you had a particular book in hand? When I finally got down to reading “Shadow” I questioned why and how long it had been on my tattered wish list, and why I had past it over for so long. Now I ask myself why I waited so long to read it.

The novel is a psychological crime thriller about dark secrets, the price of fame and how the search for public approval can drive some to make unsound decisions that have lasting or tragic repercussions. It also touches the impact our
...more
Bill
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-europe
This was an excellent story. It lived up to my expectations as I've read other Karin Alvtegen stories and enjoyed them immensely. She develops the story very nicely, introducing characters in each chapter and telling the story through their eyes. Each person is well-crafted, has their own individual personalities, their own faults. The story starts with the death of Gerda Persson, a lady who had previously been the house maid for a famour literary family. The preparations for her funeral will ...more
John
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've thoroughly enjoyed the three previous Alvtegen novels I've read, to the extent that I have her at the top of my own personal list of Scandi crime writers (perhaps because, in her case, the term "crime writer" is a bit of a misnomer), but with Shadow I think she's surpassed herself.

The elderly Gerda Persson dies alone, and a state official, Marianne Folkesson, is sent in to sort out Gerda's affairs and possessions, and to see if there are any surviving relatives and friends. What she
...more
Ken Fredette
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was reading this when I got out a book from the library due in a week. I finished the other book and went back to "Shadow". It took me a while to get the books together in my mind, but this book was special. Not because there are characters in it that make sense, but it was realistic with all the killings.
Holly
Oct 15, 2010 marked it as to-read
From Belletrista: A child of four is found abandoned in an amusement park with little more than some crumbs, an empty juice bottle, a tape recorder, and a Bambi book by his side. There's also a note: "Take care of this child. Forgive me." Thus, one is drawn into this neatly crafted novel, which keeps one rapt as layer upon layer is slowly and deftly revealed.

Some 30 years later, Gerda Persson's body is found three days after she has died at the age of 92, with no clue as to who she is.
...more
Ian
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is set in Stockholm and I thought it was beautifully written/translated. I came to it thinking it would be a typical Scandinavian crime novel as it begins with a death, but there is no police involvement except at the very start. It is more of a slow paced mystery but that slow pace gave time for the main characters to develop and consequently have some depth. Don't let the slow pace comment put you off. It certainly gripped my imagination and kept me interested all the way through to ...more
Jim
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
An old woman dies of natural causes in her flat in Stockholm. A social worker is dispatched to wind up her estate. As part of her job she tries to find any friends or relatives. Her diligence sparks off a series of events that with shock the whole of Sweden and will reveal just what lengths people will go to to keep up appearances.

This is not your typical crime novel in fact for most of the book no one realises that any crime (unless you count child abandonment) has even been committed. And I
...more
Marsha
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a dark novel.

How does the death of an old woman connect to a child abandoned in an amusement park decades ago? And how will their connection ruin an elderly Nobel prize winning author's family and reputation?

I love this author's ability to take the reader inside each character's head. Seeing the outer actions versus the inner thoughts is so compelling. Seeing how each person's perspective of events collides with other realities is illuminating in itself. Makes one wonder what filters we all
...more
Janika
A four year old boy is left abandoned at the amusement park Skansen during the 70's.
In 2006 Gerda Persson, an elderly woman has died of old age, all alone in her apartment. Marianne Fredriksson is assigned to arrange the funeral, clean out the apartment and find if Gerda has any relatives to contact.
During Mariannes inspection of the apartment she finds a set of books in the freezer with dedications to Gerda from the Noble winning author Axel Ragnerfeldt. What connects these events, and why
...more
Bronwyn Rykiert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janette Fleming
May 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
The book begins in 1975 when a four year old boy is discovered abandoned at an amusement park with a note asking for him to be looked after. Then the narrative jumps forward to the present day where a 92-year-old woman, Gerda Person, dies alone in her flat. She has no living relatives so Social Services administrator Marianne Folkesson is given the task of putting her affairs in order and organising the funeral.

Gerda Persson, turns out to be the former housekeeper of the highly respected Nobel
...more
Mary-Ann Smith
Shadow is a beautifully written tale of people looking for happiness. The books opens with a small boy waiting for his mother to come and get him from a shed where he is waiting. He has been waiting so long the batteries have worn out on the cassette player he has which reads him his story book. Eventually the boy is found and it appears his mother has abandoned him at an amusement park. The story then shifts to the family of a renowned author as they find out about the death of their old maid.

...more
Sarah
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone, diana
Kept my interest. There's quite a layered plot. Very few characters come out of it with any credit and only the character that starts it off - Marianne Folkesson - seems to get any real satisfaction in her working life sorting out the funerals of people who have nobody to do it for them after their death. We don't learn anything about her private life so it's not possible to speculate there but without exception all the other characters have a pretty dismal working life and an absolutely ...more
Cleopatra  Pullen
Others include the death of a retired housekeeper, Gerda Petersson who kept Alex Ragnarfeldt's nobel prize winning books in the freezer. When Marianne Folkesson tries to find relatives and friends before her funeral secrets are revealed.

This book starts well but there is such a lot going on that I didn't really feel that there was any true depth to this story. This isn't a classic crime thriller, it explores many themes such as the lengths people will go to in order to achieve fame, the
...more
Plum-crazy
I'd never heard of this author before reading this but enjoyed this thriller which I found to be in a similar vein to Ruth Rendell & Karin Fossum.

The story features a dysfunctional family, none of whom are endearing characters, & their dark family secrets that they have kept over the years begin to come to light on the death of their retired housekeeper Gerda Persson. As Marianne Folkesson, an estate administrator, sorts out Gerda's belongings she unwittingly sets off a chain of events
...more
Andrew
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 5 year old boy is abandoned at a Swedish fun fair in the prologue of this book and in chapter 1 a council official is called in to sort out the affairs of a deceased 92 year old woman who apparently has no relatives or friends. The official finds hidden in the freeze and wrapped in cling film first editions of nobel laureate Axel Ragnerfeldt dedicated to Gerda , the deceased. The subsequent communications to the family of Alex trigger a series of interweaving stories from the perspective of ...more
Natalie M
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
A complex, dark, and fairly depressing tale of how it’s possible to literally ‘go through life.’ The impact of how a few decisions, covered-up or ignored, can then further destroy those immediately involved in them and later the ripple effect in the lives of others. Sad, poignant, and true of how issues can & were dealt with in those times.
Claire The Bristol Reader
Halfway through the audiobook of this...it is so dreary that I don't know if I can continue. Every character is thoroughly miserable, every parent lets down their children, and every child is doomed to repeat the same mistake. The basic plot is compelling and I really want to know what happens...but can I listen to about six more hours of this? I'm not sure.
Marie (UK)
Sep 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
To me this book was a jumble of plot lines, it took ages to get into it with any understanding certainly over a quarter of the way through. The characters were too similar, vain self centred and artistic and there were some times when the author swopped from not to another with no evident break. By the time i was nearing the end I really couldn't have cared less about who did what to whom.
Dovile Intaite
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a book! I could’t concentrate myself on anything other than it. I spent last 2 days with main characters, trying to untangle their stories and secrets.
Karin Alvtegen is one of my favourite authors for sure.
Chris Gorman
Mar 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Could not get into this book at all. I did not find the characters engaging or likeable. Got as far as chapter 9 and called it quits....life’s too short!
Frans-jan
May 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too many unnecessary murders by stupid persons. . . .not very logical.
Guilherme Zahn
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite interesting thriller where the story itself builds up very nicely and the suspense rises from the middle to the end.
Matthew Fray
A laugh a minute. This starts off with a death and gets blacker from there. When it starts you think that estate's administrator Marianne Folkesson is going to be the main character and the "detective" which seems like a nice twist on the normal policeman. But this isn't the case. In fact to me this isn't really a crime novel (although there are a number of crimes). There are a number of major characters and events are viewed from each of their points of view. The characterisation and the prose ...more
Rachel
Jul 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller
I was disappointed in this and probably won't try any more titles by this author. I was intrigued by the synopsis on the back ( books in the freezer..this must be interesting) but actually ..it felt more of a family melodrama than a crime novel. In fact I was well into the book before there was any indication of a crime or who the victim of the crime might be. Most of the characters were self obsessed which I don't normally have a problem with, but combined with the slow pace and the sometimes ...more
Ali Kennedy
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book took a bit of getting into at the start and, personally, I didn't find it was the page turner I imagined. However, a bit of persistence and I was hooked. The plot at first seems to have a number of selfish/self-absorbed characters that I can't empathise with but something about them draws you in. With a plot that covers the current day and events of the 1970s, and shifts between the two periods, I was left wondering what had happened in the gaps that had not yet been filled with ...more
Cleopatra  Pullen
Aug 02, 2014 rated it liked it
This book starts with a four year old boy being abandoned in an amusement park, why and who by is just one of the mysteries to be unravelled. Others include the death of a retired housekeeper, Gerda Petersson who kept Alex Ragnarfeldt's nobel prize winning books in the freezer. When Marianne Folkesson tries to find relatives and friends before her funeral secrets are revealed.

This book starts well but there is such a lot going on that I didn't really feel that there was any true depth to this
...more
Al
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
During the past 3 years I have found myself reading more and more books written in Swedish and translated into English.
My latest foray into this genre is a book by Karin Alvtegen called SHADOW.
As the blurb on the cover so aptly says: Sometimes the past is better left buried?
Of course that piqued my curiosity and I found myself on a journey with this un-put down able book.
The story starts with a little boy being found with a note asking that somebody should please look after him. From there the
...more
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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
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“There is no hell after death to which your God can condemn us. We create our own hell here on earth by making the wrong choices. Life is not something that "happens to us" , it's something that we create and shape ourselves......” 5 likes
“Nowadays people often talk about happiness. Books are written about it, courses are taught on it, and some us even try to buy it. Feeling has become a right, and we chase after it, convinced that once we have found it, we will also find the solution to all our problems. Not being happy has come to be equated with failure. But what is happiness, after all? Is it possible to be happy each waking minute, day after day, year in and year out? Is it actually something worth striving for? For how can we conceive of our happiness if we have never experienced any pain? Sometime I think that today we have trouble finding happiness because of our deep fear of suffering. Perhaps we have forgotten the lessons that can be learned from our own darkness. Is it not there that we must go sometimes in order eventually to distinguish the light from the stars. To understand the happiness we so assiduously pursue actually feels? A life without sorrow is a symphony without bass notes. Is there anyone who can truthfully claim that he is always happy? I have never met such a person. On the other hand, I have met apparently happy people who said they were content. I looked up the word in the National Encyclopaedia, and it describes the feeling of having obtained or achieved what can reasonably be desired. And when I read that, I thought that perhaps we have gone astray in our pursuit of happiness, that what we should actually be seeking is the ability to feel content. Something has made us believe that it is the rapture of the moment and the ecstatic rush of the senses that leads to happiness, but perhaps it is instead the courage to settle down and dare to be satisfied with what we have.
Shame- Karin Alvtegen”
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