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Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito
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Quicksand tackles a situation so quintessentially American that it’s easy to forget its Swedish setting…a school shooting, something that’s become tragically quotidian in the US news and is quite unusual for other places. At least, because it is Swedish, it avoids certain nightmarish logistics and no one proposes to arm the teachers, but it does go on at length about so many other things. The fascinating angle here is perspective, the story is told by a survivor/participant in the massacre now on trial for her (well, not life, this is, once again, a civilized reasonable country) freedom. Then again that angle is also the novel’s detractor, because as a reader you’re essentially trapped in the mind of a very privileged very entitled teenage girl, which can get really tiresome really quick. Mind you, the author tries to address this, she’s made her protagonist very intelligent and has given her some really thought provoking insights when it comes to the legal process and culpability and public perception and so on, but it is still a 17, later 18, year old girl. There is a certain degree to emotional immaturity when it comes to relationships, one of which in particular with a troubled scion of an incredibly prosperous and credibly brutal businessman is what eventually leads to the main tragedy. The book unfolds (very leisurely) is such a way that while you know the outcome from the get go, the paths to it are revealed in a deliberately measured pace and exhaustive detail, which is to say it tracks back a year and chronicles the dysfunctional dynamics of young love. Actually, the relationship is dysfunctional on such a high level that it can really be ageless, except that there is a certain level of drama that can sometimes be very youth specific, think Romeo and Juliet, extremes, extremes. It also sands to mention that while some parts of the book can almost come across as YA, it is definitely too heavy and too sophisticated of a story for that general classification. If you’re a fan of legal drama, you’ll love this. It features a genius defense attorney, best money can buy, obviously, since money and privilege is sort of a theme. I’m not even really a fan of that particular thriller subgenre and still easily appreciated Sander’s scenes. If you’re just in it for the drama, there’s a lot of that (parents/children, friendships, relationships) and also some clever meditations and critiques on the social and financial societal structures that are universal enough in nature to appreciate universally. It even addresses immigration, although a reductive view of this might mention that the only student with something resembling a functional moral compass is an immigrant, a serious studious kid from the ghetto who tries to make good. That seems like as easy cliché for a book that seems to otherwise avoid being easy. It is essentially a good read and the author’s real life legal experience really brings an authenticity to the proceedings. The narrative is compelling and it reads easily enough for its bulk, but it is bulky, heavy in every way, and is quite an investment of time and effort to get to the finish line. Not sure if it would reads differently with adult characters of similar natures. And obviously it wouldn’t work, plot wise. Slightly surreal to read a story that seems right off the news and makes you long for the world where such things belong exclusively in the realm of fiction.
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Reading Progress

March 18, 2018 – Started Reading
March 20, 2018 – Shelved
March 20, 2018 – Finished Reading

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