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Naïve. Super

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  16,390 ratings  ·  813 reviews
The narrator of this funny and poignant novel is searching for meaning, going back to his childhood, onto the web and off to New York to find it. He writes lists, obsesses over the nature of time, and finds joy in bouncing balls--all in an effort to find out how best to live life. An utterly enchanting meditation on experience, Naive. Super was a #1 best-seller in Erlend L ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 7th 2005 by Canongate UK (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,390 ratings  ·  813 reviews


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Ahmad Sharabiani
Naïve. Super, Erlend Loe
Naïve. Super. is a novel by the Norwegian Erlend Loe. It was first published in 1996 in Norwegian, where it was very popular. The story is narrated by a man in his mid-twenties who suddenly becomes disillusioned and confused by life and therefore quits university. The narrator becomes fascinated by both modern scientific theories of time and relativity. He reads a book by Paul Davies and also engages in repetitive childish activities such as playing with wooden BRIO child
...more
Addie
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone. You have everything to gain and nothing to loose.
Shelves: favourites

I tried to send Erlend Loe himself a letter once.
I couldn't find his address so I tried his e-mail. I wrote him a long nice one with loads of questions, but the one he gives in the book is defunct and when I contacted his publisher they started asking questions.

I was too intimidated to make anything up.

I really wish I had. He seems like the sort of person that needs to be e-mailed.
Milica Chotra
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. (Maybe) I'll write a proper review later, but thought I could post the list I'd written last night, just in case Loe wants to see it :)

What used to excite me when I was little:

- animals, especially cats, birds and baby goats
- betting my life on everything - if this does/doesn't happen, I die; racing against buses - if I lose, I die
- broken toys and old things, small parts of broken things
- building blocks / construction toys
- buttons
- cardboard boxes
- c
...more
Lisa
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A charming story of a different kind of person! A person who still has a deeply rooted connection to childhood at 25, who refuses to do things that seem meaningless, who carefully thinks twice before making simple choices, but who dares to admit feeling scared when thinking of the "big questions" in life.

Undoubtedly, the narrator seems a bit odd, but I closed the book with a smile on my face and the suspicion that it actually is much more strange to go on repeating regular patterns infinitely w
...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Back in 2006 or so Amazon had this “Listmania” feature where, youse guessed it, people made lists of stuff to share with others. I’d waste way too much time browsing those lists but I’d get recs for some pretty decent books to read that were similar to books I’d read before. One such book that appeared a lot was Erlend Loe’s Naive. Super, which I read a few pages of and decided wasn’t for me. Cut to the other week, some 10+ years after that encounter, when I happened to see it on a bookshelf and ...more
Doug
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5, rounded up.

I first heard of this slim, quick read as it was listed as one of the top ten books favored by current US Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg - and that he had actually learned Norwegian in order to read it in the original language! I figured something that had impelled that kind of a commitment must be something special - and indeed, there is a lot packed into this deceptively simple little tome. It has been called a Norwegian The Catcher in the Rye and that is rather an apt d
...more
Anita Dalton
Of course, this is the sort of novel that could only happen in a relatively benign place like Norway where a grown man playing with a little boy doesn’t inspire the need in every passerby to call Chris Hansen, and to a person who has a brother with an empty apartment. The protagonist is the most earnest character an American like me can possibly hope to read. With so many novels so sickeningly drenched in irony, the protagonist in Naïve. Super is completely devoid of it. And because he is not se ...more
Nelly Aghabekyan
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Simplicity's best and simply the easiest - and this book is an exact example for this. There's no need to try hard and make things more and more complicated when there's an easier way to solve the problems: just stay ignorant to them. Be childish. Ask simple questions which always have answers, and do not spend forces on finding answers to questions that don't even make sense really.

This book is naive. This is why it's super
Matthew Rhodes
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Naive Super is probably the most influential book I've read in terms of my own writing.

This is a brave book. Dialogue is just discarded for the most part. The unnamed narrator is almost anti-protagonist. He is a nice guy. There aren't many books purely about nice guys. There are, however, countless good works about nice guys battling against adversity. The interesting thing about Naive Super is that the adversity is the character's own doing. The adversity is his depression. Almost like a quarte
...more
lark benobi
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a satisfying read. Nothing happens, in the most fascinating way imaginable. Just as I wrote that last sentence I remembered the feeling of watching My Dinner with Andre for the first time. This novel gave me a similar feeling--happy to be alive, happy to be literate, happy to have time to read and to think. It's that kind of book.
Sussu
I've read this book many a time before, and it has yet to fail me. It's a simple book on the surface, but for me it's a way to climb out of a hole whenever existing gets to be a bit too much. It's not a magic cure, but it makes life tolerable again.
Brendan Monroe
Things I like about this book:

- It's different. But in a nice way. Very quirky.
- Is the protagonist really dumb, really smart, or really, err, naïve? I'm still not entirely sure.
- The protagonist makes a lot of lists. He likes lists. I like reading them.
- The sentences are so short.
- The protagonist is uncertain about many things. So am I.
- It's funny. He gets overwhelmed a lot, so he buys a Brio hammer-and-peg to help. When he hammers he doesn't feel so overwhelmed.

This leads to a number of
...more
Paul Ataua
Nov 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to reading ‘Naïve. Super’. As I started reading, however, the word ‘quirky’ kept coming to mind, and then I realized I didn’t exactly know what quirky means, so I looked it up and saw it was “ unusual in an attractive and interesting way” . It was certainly unusual, quite off-beat, but I didn’t find it attractive or interesting. I was quite bored and just wanted it to end. This doesn’t mean it is bad. It just means it isn’t my kind of book.


Sanja_Sanjalica
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just love Loe's style, his weird, but extremely relatable characters, his sense for little things and his lists. An easy, fun and excellent read. I have also learned a lot about time :).
M. Sarki
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-wonders
http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/1290680...

A refreshing look at a young man from Norway trying to make sense of his life and attempting to find meaning in it. Perhaps the narrator is a bit too serious or obsessive in his assessments over the purpose of his life. He thinks constantly about the question of time and space. His over-adjustment to this uncomfortable predicament is to simply throw a ball against a wall all night or repeatedly hammer wooden pegs into a board. And this might seem too juven
...more
Samir
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I believe in cleansing the soul through fun and games. I also believe in love."
Apeksha Shetty
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If someone could have every uncensored thought in their head over a few days typed out and rolled into a book, this book would be it. It speaks to you like a best friend would. With no intention of seeming cool, and every intention of being true.

‘My brother nods. He asks me whether I have ever considered thinking less.
I tell him I consider it all the time, but that it’s not that easy.’


The unnamed lead protagonist is a nice guy. And he’s just that, a nice guy. No frills attached. But he’s a nice
...more
Lily S.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is my second novel from Loe and while it was pretty good I didn't like it as much as Lazy days.

The book examins the same topics as Lazy days; finding meaning. The theme was different though, instead of looking at it in the context of a middle aged couple it shifted focus to a young man in his twenties.

Our protagonist is a caricature of what we often seen in the 90's generation. Desperately looking for something to do which actually has a meaning yet unable to find anything that truly inte
...more
Klinta
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Full review.
This book wasn't really exactly like I expected it to be. It seemed like one of those hip, deep meaning, hipster reads, but at the same time something that anyone who is reading it might relate to.

The protagonist searched for meaning of time and although sometimes his search seemed childish, it didn't speak to me. I did understand the book and (I think) many ideas in it, yet it is not how I would solve this problem and that is the reason it didn't live up to my expectations. Yet it
...more
Julia
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love books where nothing really happens and this novel did not disappoint. I loved the lists, the introspection, the narrator's friendship with the kindergarten student, and the fact that there were no catastrophes or mishaps during the story. It also reminded me strongly of a close friend of mine.

"I fill my mouth with water and swallow a little at a time. Water is good. If I had to choose between a lot of things, I'd quite definitely choose water."
Jemppu
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title doesn't lie; our narrator's questions do at times read (super?) naive, as they examine the very basics of self, ponder the fundamentals of modern existence, observe commercialism, and catalog varied random minutia.

This whole thing felt rather like a mash-up of other, previously familiar ingredients: the questioning of capitalism, modern society and one's role in it from Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club (sans the mayhem and violence), the questioning of universe, and the difficulties in co
...more
Fiona
May 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
The main character is a twenty year old man who has dropped out of college and retreated to his brother's empty apartment after what appears to be a mental breakdown. Its not made clear what has happened just that he decides he needs to simplify his life. This involves bouncing a ball against a wall repeatedly and writing lists of what matters to him among other things. At one point he goes to a toy store and buys a toy hammer and pin set which he spends hours hammering to release pent up tensio ...more
Aino
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is something absolutely charming about this book.

"He asks me whether I have considered thinking less.
I tell him I consider it all the time, but that it's not that easy."


This little short story came to me at the exact time in my life. I don't understand most things and even though it is sometimes killing me, it's okay. I don't need to know. Sometimes, I can just be.

"I still don't know if things fit together, or if everything will be all right in the end. But I believe that something means s
...more
Anna
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this little book!
At first it felt like such a cliché—young man drops out of uni due to existential crisis caused by too much intellectualising. But then he bought a ball and I liked that. And I liked the lists and the simple writing and how earnest it is. Clichés are so relatable!
He focuses on time a lot and I wonder if the author has read Heidegger and if he has I wonder if he understood it and if he did I wonder if the idea of living an "authentic" life resonated with him. For some rea
...more
William Miles
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this because of the scuttlebutt among appreciators of good books that Pete Buttigieg learned Swedish just to read more books by Norwegian author Erlend Loe, and I wanted to understand what Pete's thinking might have been. A Norwegian friend who I consulted also recommended the author. And this happens to be the only book (on Amazon) by Erlend Loe to be translated into English.

The premise is deceptively simple and quirky, and I loved almost every page and every inventive and odd turn! The
...more
Mariam Romanadze
From a Lego modeling perspective, what is happiness?
Julia
Jun 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book has tremendously simple style -incoherent and full of vacuous lists. Every few words my bored mind slipped away.

They text only got me interested, when it talked about "girls". Just as everything else as well, the protagonist greatly simplified women by not seeing them as individuals and always in their relation to men.
Seeing a girl, he immediately wondered, if she had a boyfriend. Never did he wonder about the girl herself.

"They're strange things, girls. One can't avoid them. They're
...more
Carine
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was really hoping this book would be good, on the back it said so many promising things.. But it wasn't. I know the language used in this book was on purpose, but all the short simple sentences made it really difficult to read. I like longer sentences with bigger words, they add to the atmosphere. Also eventually I thought this book had absolutely no purpose. There are about 20 pages with with photo-copies of a game they play in the library and there isn't any useful information on it? Like at ...more
Sosi Demirtshyan
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: a-shortie
3.5 stars.
This book was....charming, yes that is the exact word for this novel. The language used was so simple, but at the same time the author conveyed so easily everyhting he needed. And the way it was written reminded me a bit the Flowers for Algernon. I liked the book overall and it made me to think about the things that excited me in my childhood. I'll post the list of things later.
...more
Aaron
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
What a lovely book. Cute, funny, and interesting.
After reading this, I feel motivated to write lists of the things I love, play with bouncy balls, and explore places that seem overwhelming. :)
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Erlend Loe is a Norwegian novelist. He worked at a psychiatric clinic, and was later a freelance journalist for Norwegian newspaper Adresseavisen. Loe now lives and works in Oslo where in 1998 he co-founded Screenwriters Oslo - an office community for screenwriters.

In 1993 he debuted with the book Tatt av kvinnen, and a year later published a children's book, Fisken, about a forklift operator name
...more

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“A human being weighing 70 kilograms contains among other things:
-45 litres of water
-Enough chalk to whiten a chicken pen
-Enough phosphorus for 2,200 matches
-Enough fat to make approximately 70 bars of soap
-Enough iron to make a two inch nail
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-A spoonful of magnesium
I weigh more than 70 kilograms.

And I remember a TV series called Cosmos. Carl Sagan would walk around on a set that was meant to look like space, speaking in large numbers. On one of the shows he sat in front of a tank full of all the substances human beings are made of. He stirred the tank with a stick wondering if he would be able to create life.
He didn’t succeed.
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“We shall never meet, but there is something I want you to know. My time is not the same as your time. Our times are not the same. And do you know what that means? That means that time does not exist. Do you want me to repeat that? There is no time. There is a life and a death. There are people and animals. Our thoughts exist. And the world. The universe, too. But there is no time. You might as well take it easy. Do you feel better now? I feel better. This is going to work out. Have a nice day.” 60 likes
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