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I Am Behind You (Platserna, #1)
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2020 Book Discussion Archive > "I Am Behind You" Discuss Everything *Spoilers*

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message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments Once you have read the book or are well into it and want to discuss plot points in detail to include spoilers I have created this topic just for you. No need to thank me. It's all in a moderator's duty.

message 2: by Dan (last edited Feb 10, 2020 02:30PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments I am a little more than halfway through now. This is so incredibly dark. I mean I love the dark side in writing, but this story is unrelenting. I am enjoying myself more than not. It's so easy to get immersed in these characters. I identify most with Donald, of course. Well, my darker side does at least. But I'm probably most like Stefan.

It's funny how the author has to tell us Stefan "worships" Carina. He does this more than once, in fact. If the author didn't tell me this, I'd never know from Stefan's actions. It's a strange slip-up in the "show, don't tell" rule all authors, including Lindqvist I'm sure, are well aware of. Does Lindqvist slip up here because he doesn't know how to show "worshipful" actions by one spouse to another, does not know of what one would consist? That's hard to believe.

I'm a little worried at this point. We have a situation that has a lot of the same characteristics as the "Lost" TV series. Can Lindqvist succeed where "Lost's" writers failed and pull off a more satisfyingly explained ending? That's normally not a requirement in Weird writing, but this book has missed a number of benchmarks that would make it standard Weird fare, if such can be said to exist. I may not be able to give Lindqvist the same "pass" I'd give a Weird writer were he to fail to account for some of this. "They were all in a Purgatory of some sort," will no more do for here than it did for "Lost." "Why did Purgatory have to be this way and not another?" is the natural follow-up.

message 3: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments Scott wrote: "It seems like none of the spouses really like each other. Maybe that is the connection...."

Except maybe for the two men couple. But they seem like minor characters so far.

The problematic couples relationships may be key to explaining everything. I also think previous death experiences, especially Molly's, is going to prove key. Molly scares me the way mice do elephants or roaches do us humans I suppose. Fast moving, sneaky, disgusting, and hard to notice, but up to no good.

Scott I don't think it's going to be a purgatory thing, because I think the author knows most readers will guess that. The fact that they can still make contact with the "real" world with their mobile phones adds a perplexing twist.

message 5: by Dan (last edited Feb 12, 2020 09:33AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments Two thirds of the way through and I'm really enjoying the storyline. The plot bogged down and stayed a bit static there in the middle, but seems to be moving once again. In "Lost" they made contact with the "real world" from time to time too, or thought they did.

At least we just got a name for this place now. (view spoiler)

message 6: by Scott (last edited Feb 13, 2020 08:50AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Scott I'm not quite as far as you so I'll resist uncovering that spoiler for a little longer.

So it seems everyone is haunted by something from their past. But some of these were real then (the bloodman--a child's interpretation of what happened to his father) while others (the black tiger, the pale man) were separate entities that visited them in times of trauma. Still others are manifestations of something they are a "fan" of (Jimmy Stewart, Star Wars characters.)

It's obvious Molly is an agent of something rather than simply mischievous or even malevolent. Draining the power from the computer and wasting the water supply... to what purpose?

And what's more the dog and the cat are friends???? :D

The fight between Carina and Isabelle was intense, as was the scene where Isabelle has finally had enough of Molly.

message 7: by Dan (last edited Feb 13, 2020 12:55PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments These are really good points and questions you raise. They remind me a lot of the types of questions fans of "Lost" raised part way through the show.

I mostly find myself wondering if anyone will get back somehow to the world, which looks increasingly doubtful, and if not if we'll possibly get a complete explanation as to where they are and why they are there. Your questions imply a faith that this will happen. I am less certain.

I loved Lindqvist's take on "acid rain."

Scott I ended up not liking this book. While it is not a dream as Donald believes for a while, it might has well have been that for me. There are no rules or logic to anything that happens and no consistency. Nothing is explained or even hinted at or theorized by the characters. It is just a bunch of weird shit that happens.

So something happened to Molly while she was in the tunnel, one of those things entered her, but what's the connection? Who knows?

"I am a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl" is a chilling line, and it sounded familiar so I searched and it is the first line of the song "Bachelorette" by Björk. While I'm sure I've heard the song, I don't think I ever knew the lyrics. (At first I thought it might have been from Martyrs, which by the way is a great film.)

message 9: by Dan (last edited Feb 17, 2020 06:52PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments I agree that Lindqvist left a lot of the questions he raised unanswered. It seemed like for no reason once we reached about fifty to a hundred pages or so out from the end the tone abruptly changed. As if the author knew he had gone on long enough and it was time to bring things to a close. Yet nothing was happening internally to the story to cause things to come to an end. So the author started killing off his characters. Nothing like acid bathing all your characters to really toast them up good. I would have liked to learn more about those figures they kept seeing off in the distance.

I was between a three and a four most of the way through the book. The last page with its metafictional twist worked for me and I enjoyed most of the ride, especially the pets' story and perspective, so I rounded up.

Scott I didn't get the turning the light on and off thing. Was Peter wrong about there being no god in this place, and that god is the author? I didn't think it added anything to the story.

message 11: by Dan (last edited Feb 18, 2020 06:15AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments The closing scene is with Olof and Lennart. Remember how at one point in the book Peter (I think it was) speculates that Olof and Lennart seem to know more about what is going on and wonders what they may be hiding from him?

I think they do know what is going on a bit more. They seem to know or sense maybe they are made up characters in someone's story. They thus fare better than the other characters. Are you, Scott, and me too maybe characters in someone else's story? All the characters are dancing to the author's tune so that the author has something to write about. At the end the author finally tires of writing all their stories and ends it by turning the light off.

All authors do this. Lindqvist is just being more honest about it, breaking the fourth wall as it were, and using some clever metafiction to let us know he's done. He's been showing us these characters' dance for 405 pages now, but has nothing more he wants to say about it. He hopes we enjoyed the show. Goodbye.

Ferris Beuler's Day Off ends in a similar way. It allows us to realize he's just been trying to entertain us, but that's all he's got. So, for me at least, it allows me to step back, say, "You know, you're right. That was a fun ride. Thanks." And to get off the ride by closing the book.

message 12: by Dan (last edited Feb 18, 2020 06:14AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments The second paragraph in particular in this article (as well as The Midsummer Night's Dream example) may help in understanding why Lindqvist does this:

Scott Oh, I know what breaking the fourth wall is. I just don't feel like this told a good or complete story (unlike A Midsummer Night's Dream).

I never got the impression that Lennart and Olof had any more awareness than any of the others did.

message 14: by Dan (last edited Feb 18, 2020 06:26AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan | 795 comments Oh gosh. It's only one place about halfway through where Peter (or maybe Stefan) wondered why they seemed so well adjusted to the new situation, wondered if they knew something more than he did and were hiding something. I don't remember well enough where it came up in the book to start looking for it again though. Sorry.

Scott I think I just thought it was in their nature to be more laid back about things.

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