Kirstine's Reviews > Ondskaben

Ondskaben by Jan Guillou
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's review
Mar 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: own, reviewed, 1-men, translated

I read this as part of a project we're about to write at uni. The project is about evil, so this book is certainly fitting.

When I bought it, the sales person told me "That's a really good book". And he was right. It's brilliant. The danish translation is a bit icky at times, but the story itself is incredible.
And it's a violent book, at the centre of it you find abuse and degradation. But it's also intelligent. Something that comes through in Erik's internal dialogue, and in the conversations between Pierre and Erik. It's a book that explores its own themes, and does it really well.

There's a lot to analyse, in this case I'll go for the title. What does "Evil" refer to? Erik? His dad? His school tormentors? His mother and the teachers who turn a blind eye? I believe it's all of them. This is not a book about The Evil, it's about the many different kinds we encounter every day.

And then it asks the age-old question of whether violence is ever justified as a means of fighting back. This book never really answers that question, all it tells us is that, sometimes, violence works.

It mirrors a lot of my own thoughts and observations too. Most notably how anxiety (angst) and fear work much better as defence or offence tools than any pain you could ever inflict on someone.

Once read, it's not a book or a story that's likely to leave you. It forces you to think, to consider where you stand and to form an opinion of the things that take place. And as a result; to examine yourself. What's the right thing to do? What would YOU have done?
It has much the same effect the movie does, it shocks, it horrifies and it stays with you forever.
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Reading Progress

March 15, 2012 – Started Reading
March 15, 2012 – Shelved
March 15, 2012 –
page 171
March 15, 2012 –
page 243
March 16, 2012 –
page 310
March 17, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 3, 2014 – Shelved as: own
June 26, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed
November 14, 2015 – Shelved as: 1-men
December 31, 2015 – Shelved as: translated

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