The Read Around The World Book Club discussion

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October 2017 - SWEDEN > The rest of the book

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
So final thoughts?


message 2: by Anja (last edited Oct 05, 2017 01:45AM) (new)

Anja uuuuggggghhhhh this book! what to say what to say...sadly there is not much good to say sadly. The book bored me, the constant background stories of every little character annoyed me and became a nuisance, because they didn't go anywhere. The whole book felt like one big "series set up" to get to know every single person in the village. Also, is it just me or did this book not know what it wants to be...a mystery, a romance novel, a bad female stereotype comedy> LOL All the characters seemed to get to the weirdest conclusions and weren't able to put one and one together. Maybe if they wouldn't have been so preoccupied with their love life or weight issues they would've been able to solve the mystery at chapter 3. sorry for the rant, but this sadly did not work for me. I gave it 2 stars because I finished, but the more I think about it, the rating seems to go down.


message 3: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Anja wrote: "uuuuggggghhhhh this book! what to say what to say...sadly there is not much good to say sadly. The book bored me, the constant background stories of every little character annoyed me and became a n..."

Yes, I hear you. I may just copy my thoughts in here. Worst book I read this year.


message 4: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Copied from my page: Now that I had a night to sleep on it, I thought I share some of my thoughts about this book. First of all, let me tell you that if you love this book, that is ok. I love some really terrible books and I am not ashamed of it and neither should you. Nevertheless, I want to talk a bit about why this book just did not work for me.

When I suggested this book as a read for my Read Around the World Bookclub it was on the basis of the marketing for this book as a "hard-hitting Scandi-crime novel that explores the difference in Swedish society between rich and poor, small town Sweden...". I expected something a bit like Mankell, bit like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I prepared myself to be scared and freaked out by the descriptions of horror that humans inflict on each other. Instead, I read a book that claims to be a hard-boiled crime story, but in fact it is a cozy mystery pretending that it is not a cozy mystery.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do love a cozy mystery now and then. They are honest about what they are, reading one, I expect outragous storylines, crazy people, over description of everything and outlandish crimes with weird motives. And here is my main problem with the book, it's just not honest what it is about. It is cozy set in a Swedish backwater with a bit of romance thrown into the mix.

I found the writing to be terrible and I don't think it's a translation error, Murray is a well respected translater of Swedish. The portrayal of each woman being dependent on a man or the opinion of a man or the action of a man was a throwback to the 1950ies. Erica's obsession with Weight Watchers, her thoughts on urinary tract infections or analysing her weight and her eating all the time, was at first amusing towards the end downright annoying. Laeckberg is so judgey of women's appearances. They are either too skinny or too fat. Some could do with a good haircut. Her obsession with interior design reflecting the people's personalities in this book, because you know if you don't have hardwood flooring, you are a bit frumpy. Just deal with it.

By the time, the conclusion comes around, you will no longer care about who murdered the victim. I cared, however, because as I predicted that it would feature childhood abuse (referred to quite often as "assault" which made me livid to say the least). As a survivor, I have so many issues with childhood abuse portrayal in books, and this book has hit a new low. The beautiful woman who is withdrawn from everyone and cannot love anyone and does not share anything, the talented artist who has to drown his painful experiences in drink and the successful businessman that has become a psychopath himself. No real reflection on what has happened to these people, but then what did I expect, after all, there is no character development in this book whatsoever, so surely reflection is just too much to ask.

In short: This was the worst book I have read (and finished) in a very long time.


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments Just finished the book. A bit of a dog's breakfast.
I understand that this book is setting the ground work for the series. However, it was painful. The depictions of women as insecure people, victims or mother figures was too much. It is hard to believe that a woman wrote this book.
The story itself was not gritty. I feel this book was marketed to ride the crime thrillers wave from Sweden's part of the world and it failed. This book and the subsequent books in the series is satisfying a type of reading market. However, as a reader and lover of gritty crime thrillers I feel as if I've been taken for a tedious ride.


message 6: by Marcella (new)

Marcella | 11 comments I am wondering what it is that makes her popular? I don't know how it is in other countries, but here in The Netherlands she is a very popular writer. I think the latest book in this series came out recently in the dutch translation and all the bookstores have had these big Lackberg window displays with towers of books and posters. So, there must be something that attracts so many readers.


message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Just finished the book. A bit of a dog's breakfast.
I understand that this book is setting the ground work for the series. However, it was painful. The depictions of women as insecure people, vict..."


I don't love the genre, but I know enough about it that this book is not part of the gritty crime genre.


message 8: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Marcella wrote: "I am wondering what it is that makes her popular? I don't know how it is in other countries, but here in The Netherlands she is a very popular writer. I think the latest book in this series came ou..."

I wish I knew. She is fairly popular in Germany too.


message 9: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 51 comments I finished the book which feels like quite an accomplishment. (I probably would have dnf-ed it if I didnt read it for this bookclub.)

I agree with Mel that this was not a Nordic Noir at all (apart from the ice and the cold), but I like reading crime fiction in any form, so this wouldnt have bothered me if it had been a good book. But it wasn't. Cardboard characters, cliché plot & structure (the cliffhangers, oh my God), rather badly written and worst of all: boring. The only thing that baffles me more than the book is the fact that this series is so popular.


message 10: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Britta wrote: "I finished the book which feels like quite an accomplishment. (I probably would have dnf-ed it if I didnt read it for this bookclub.)

I agree with Mel that this was not a Nordic Noir at all (apar..."


I cannot get my head around this. I can also not understand some reviewers praising her for her in-depth characterisations.

Sweden has about 10 million inhabitants, she has sold over 3 million books in Sweden alone. Internationally, she has sold way over 10 million books now. That is just insane!


message 11: by Marguerite (new)

Marguerite  (maggiechatsbooks) | 14 comments This book promised to be a gruesome murder mystery which is not my genre but it was the book club pick for this month so I decided to give it a shot. The murder mystery is lackluster and takes a back seat to the author's obvious issues with any woman not skinny and beautiful or at least working to be skinny and beautiful.
I had so many issues with this book that had nothing to do with the plot. It is the first book that I couldn't focus on because I kept wondering if the author ever had a real female friendship.
Within the first 100 pages she trashes just about every female character in the book. When a woman asked our main character how she is doing after discovering the body of a former friend. The author spends an entire paragraph explaining how this woman is over weight and how disgusting she finds her. I think the author was trying to paint the woman as a busy body or town gossip but instead she wanted us to not like her because she was over weight! Another woman's whole description is 'ugly duckling' which is the basis for her being unlovable and angry.
Our main character estimates the weight watcher points for everything she eats which I believe was to let us know that she is working to be thin so we should all admire her for this. When she goes to see the dead woman's husband she is happy that she fixed herself up before arriving as the husband is good looking. REALLY!
After 134 pages I skimmed the rest of the book to just get the mystery solved. It was anti-climatic and did not save the book for me.


message 12: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Maggie Chats wrote: "This book promised to be a gruesome murder mystery which is not my genre but it was the book club pick for this month so I decided to give it a shot. The murder mystery is lackluster and takes a ba..."
Astute assessment Maggie


message 13: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Lol! You guys are cracking me up! I'm not finding it as terrible as all that. It's not well written, the story isn't a barn burner, and the mystery is slow and somewhat predictable, but its average (3) to me. Maybe it's better to listen on Audible as I am, it's great brain candy while doing chores etc.


message 14: by Deirdre (new)

Deirdre Metcalf | 17 comments I thought the first half of this book was okay but I wound up really disliking the latter half. I was more disappointed with the characters and their lack of development. The main character seemed to be more occupied with her love life. I was also disappointed with the The chauvinism by the men and even sometimes the women. The women were also victimized over and over again. I just became bored as they seemed more like caricatures. The mystery kept me going but even that seemed anticlimactic.


message 15: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Stacey (wanderlustforwords67) wrote: "Lol! You guys are cracking me up! I'm not finding it as terrible as all that. It's not well written, the story isn't a barn burner, and the mystery is slow and somewhat predictable, but its average..."

Well I am glad you enjoyed it and I love the expression "barn burner" and shall use that all the time now.


message 16: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Deirdre wrote: "I thought the first half of this book was okay but I wound up really disliking the latter half. I was more disappointed with the characters and their lack of development. The main character seemed ..."

Yep the mystery was a bit anti-climactic


message 17: by Candace (new)

Candace | 53 comments It’s just too bad that we must believe because parents didn’t want the town talking that they covered up extremely horrible things that happened to their children. It is very hard to believe this.

It was more of a who-dunnit than anything else for me. Lackberg did throw me off by using the italics to not be the killer. The first time she uses the “he” pronoun so it threw me off. This is atypical from many crime fictions I’ve read.

I also do not know why this is so popular in Sweden! I’m glad the problems we found were not with the translation.


message 18: by Anna (new)

Anna (djuk) | 1 comments I finished the book yesterday and I am pretty disappointed with it (I gave it 2 stars). I didn't actually like the investigation part (not much is happening here, also there is no plot twist), as well as the fact that it was nearly hidden behind the private struggles of the characters. Their behaviour was very ofter annoying and immature (which is weird as they all are at least 30+) and there are many schematic poses. After reading 100 pages I started to skip some of the parts as the book was a bit boring for me, I also didn't like the writing style. What I will remember from this books is great winter scandinavian atmosphere, story of the old man (and his decision) and Vera's motivation - and probably not much more.
I read this book in 2013 and I found it ok that time (and I do understand that some people may enjoy reading it), but it seems that my expectations changed a lot - maybe also because of reading dozens of crime novels in the meantime :)


message 19: by Keriann (new)

Keriann (kad123) I have to admit I enjoyed this book. There was flaws but I thought it was fine, want to pick up the second one now 😂


message 20: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Keriann wrote: "I have to admit I enjoyed this book. There was flaws but I thought it was fine, want to pick up the second one now 😂"

I am glad you liked it :)


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