Wednesday, February 03, 2016

First Wednesday Book Reviews

THE COLD SONG, Linn Ullmann


Jon and Siri, a long married couple and parents of two young girls, spend the summers with Siri's difficult mother. One summer, the girl that they hire as a babysitter disappears. Now this is not as much about that disappearance of the nanny as it is about the story of a marriage going sour. Their oldest daughter has become difficult; the mother and the kids' caretaker are difficult too. All of these things contribute to the fissures in their marriage. This is a well-written novel that didn't quite work for me. There is not enough concrete conflict. It's hard to understand what exactly has driven them apart. And there is not enough attention paid to the disappearance. The nanny's parents' terror is kept at arm's length until the end. A good novel but not a great one. Perhaps the nordic cold was part of the problem.

For more book reviews, go to Barrie Summy;s blog, right here. 

10 comments:

Sarah Laurence said...

I appreciated your analysis of why this book didn't work. Also by coincidence (seeing your clip below) we are rewatching Sense & Sensibility with our daughter, who is loving it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Just watched it too. Loved it although I have to say I don't think Hugh Grant worked in it. . Need to talk about that.

Deb said...

This may be old news to many people, but Linn Ullmann is the child of Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman. That might be where some of that Nordic coldness comes in.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I should have said that in my review. She's published a few books. I never know whether it's the translation or not.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Patti, I appreciate your honest review. This doesn't sound like a book I would enjoy, though I am sometimes surprised. Translation is a tricky business, or so I understand.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I think I would have been baffled by the disappearance taking a backseat too...

Thanks for this thoughtful review!

troutbirder said...

Marriages gone sour are often difficult to decipher. Maybe in novels as well....:)

David Cranmer said...

Love your honest reviews.

Margot Kinberg said...

As always, thanks for your candor, Patti. There has to be something that really motivates the characters to do what they do. Otherwise, I think, it's harder to see them as real people.

Barrie said...

Weird about the disappearance not being important because this book is touted as a mystery or a psychological thriller, right? I'm looking forward to march 1 and the pub date for The Considerate Killer, the 4th in the Nina Borg mysteries. They're Danish mysteries (not Norwegian), but they definitely have an interesting, different feel to them. Thanks for reviewing, Patti!