Cas's Reviews > Last Night in Nuuk

Last Night in Nuuk by Niviaq Korneliussen
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it was ok
bookshelves: read-in-2018, lgbtqia-rep, arc, short-stories

I’m going to be honest here: I definitely had to sit on this one to sort through it and figure it out before I could write a coherent review. This book made me feel like that time I stayed up for 36 straight hours and started having weird blackout moments where my brain just shut off for a few seconds and reality got disjointed and I had no real grasp on my surroundings but I was insisting that I was functional and interacting normally. Then when I woke up 12 hours later, I had to sit there and slowly take apart the past day and a half to filter through what I actually did and said vs. what I thought I did and said?

There’s a point to this and it’s that this book confused me and made me feel like I was losing chunks of time in weird blackout moments because I couldn’t figure out how we got from point A to point J. So I had to sit here and very slowly take apart the book and then put it back together to figure out what I had just read so I could actually review it.

To be fair, I am about 99% sure that this book wasn’t written in English originally. That or the author’s first language isn’t English, which might have been the case considering there were some words that weren’t translated but we were given the meaning of at both the beginning and end of the book. I’m not really sure.

That being said, this wasn’t an awful book, it honestly wasn’t. It took me a bit to realize this because I had to analyze the overall plot objectively, but it wasn’t horrible or anything.

It focuses on five very different characters, all of whom are LGBT+ and dealing with their own struggles (that are all intertwined in one way or another) in Greenland.

Fia, who is in a relationship that doesn’t make her happy so she finally calls it quits because she can’t take pretending anymore which leads her down a path she never considered before. Her brother, Inuk, who got caught up in an affair with a powerful and married man, which lead to him being ostracized. Sara, who is in a relationship with Ivik, who comes to a very painful and life-changing conclusion after their relationship is bent until it finally breaks. And then finally, Arnaq, who is the common denominator to all of these characters but is deeply damaged and causes more problems than she actually helps, depending on how you look at it.

Thing is, objectively and plot-wise, it was a decent book. I enjoyed the concept of it upon reflection, but not the actual execution.

For one, despite being focused on five very different characters all with their own problems, the characters kind of blend together for me. I spent too much time trying to remember which point of view I was reading it because it was hard to differentiate between them. I had to go back to my copy to recall names of certain characters just to write the summary. There was no depth or meaning to any of them outside of their problems and interactions with each other. I understood all their problems and yet if any of them had died in the duration of the book, I wouldn’t have cared. To be honest, I didn’t much care how any of their stories ended. (I’m not even totally positive there was a solid ending?)

On top of this, I haven’t tripped and fallen into this intense of a case of insta-love since 2010. It was bad. There was no real introduction to the characters and a relationship, even platonic, did not exist between Fia and Sara at all before it was ‘love’. In fact, Sara was in a relationship with someone else for most of the story. They interacted all of maybe three times in a social setting. It was exhausting just to read.

The writing is also disjointed, inconsistent, and clumsy. It alternated between blunt sentences and whole pages consisting of just one single paragraph, and it lacked a lot of detail. The dialogue felt stilted and awkward; it leaned more towards feeling like half the conversations existed to bulk up the book, not to contribute or delve the reader into the relationship and dynamic between the two characters speaking. The narrative was often confusing, as well. I could not, for the life of me, keep up with half of the trains of thoughts any of the characters had and if there’s one thing that bugs me, it’s having to read and then reread something because it didn’t make sense the first time.

However, given the ratings, I’m inclined to think something got lost in translation. I’m not sure how this reads in Greenlandic or any other language that has more words to capture a lot of things. I’ve learned that not many things translate well to English if they weren’t originally written that way by the author. A lot of things get lost because not everything has a perfect translation. I don’t know if that’s what happened because like I mentioned earlier, I’m not actually sure where this story is coming from, but it would make sense and that is how it reads.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t terrible and it definitely wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read but I wouldn’t recommend it either (at least not the English version, I guess). As I said, I liked the concept but I did not like the execution.

(Also, upon looking at the Goodreads page, it says this is actually close to 300 pages so it’s not actually a short story? Yet it only took me about an hour and a half to read it so I put it on my ‘short stories’ shelf. I’m not really sure what’s going on there because even at 300 pages, it takes me longer than that. I would assume it’s because of the format or maybe it’s an ebook thing. I have no idea.)
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Reading Progress

September 13, 2018 – Shelved
September 13, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
September 13, 2018 – Shelved as: short-stories
September 13, 2018 – Shelved as: read-in-2018
September 13, 2018 – Shelved as: lgbtqia-rep
September 14, 2018 – Started Reading
September 14, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Elyse Walters I really liked it -----------but I sooooooooooooooooo enjoyed reading your review. You have me thinking! I admire YOUR Process -- your really thinking about how this book was -or wasn't for you.
You wrote a FANTASTIC 2 star review.
Your review is a PERFECT example --of why 'star-rating's themselves mean little to me --
I love to read what readers think -- doesn't matter if I agree or not -- I love what YOU felt --what YOU thought about.

THANK YOU --for your time --writing this. It made a difference for me.

One part of the book that was very powerful for 'me' (and I'm 66 years old --married 40 next month) -- is Fia's journey --
The inner thoughts she had living with Peter -- are the type of thoughts I had when I was young --when I really couldn't find strength in my own voice yet. I remember years of feeling loss --suffering from not feeling as if I could be fully truthful --not wanting to hurt other good people -- but still needing to be truthful to myself.......
The way the author wrote that first section -- allowed me to look at my own growth --and look at what it took for me to arrive at where I am. HARD
THANK YOU again.........
I think you wrote the BEST review!!!

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