a woman meeting a man in a club, and she decides to have a one night stand with him. While having sex, on his waterbed, she feels something poking her neck. It puzzles her, to the extent, that when he goes to take a shower, she rips off the covers. What she sees though the transparent rubber bed is the face and whole body of a young woman, laid there to be kept for all eternity….she is frozen with fear, and before she can turn around, she notices that the shower is turned off and she hears the waterdrops on the hardwood floor next to her…..
(freely from Jo Nesbø himself, the story can be found in the book Marekors (the Devil’s Cross).
Last night, my friends and I went to an event, to listen to Jo Nesbø, a very accomplished author of both suspense litterature and children’s books, tranlated into 50- plus languages. He was interviewed, or rather, was having a philosophical conversation, with renowned psychiatrist Finn Skårderud.
The aforementioned scene is from one of his books, and Jo talks about it as a love story. This man was hurt in love by the love of his life, and wanted to keep her close forever, naked, in his bed full of hard liquor…and dead.
Jo reflects around this love (if you meet someone who is THAT much
into you, RUUUUUN!) Albeit disturbed and perhaps evil, this love, according to Jo, is the ultimate LOVE. During their conversation, they stretch the reach of the word evil, as well as its significance. Jo seems to stretch his own, and the readers imagination, successfully, at that. I could not, in my wildest imagination, come up with some of the scenarios that he formulates, in describing complex personalities as well as the ultimate evil. Because that is what he wants to describe. Not the form of human cruelty that stems from obliviance or ignorance or just prioritizing your own family – no, he seems to be fascinated by people who deliberately are out to hurt their victims in the worst way possible, and even manipulate the reader to feel some sort of empathy for those. The manipulation (yes, that is actually his word, not mine) is quite interesting to me – it allows us to enter some realms and feelings that we would never ever allow ourselves in real life (thank God, we are not all psychopaths;-). It is an opportunity to feel like we can have revenge, like we can feel tremendous fear, like we can lose control, without doing so in real life…We can just close the book.
I am facinated by the thought of experiencing all kinds of emotions, about the muliti-faceted parts of life, where we, at times, are the abused, and at others, the abuser. Life will put us in situations where we have to chose from less than profitable choices (between a rock and a hard place, basically) and we have to make a choice that we never, ever, thought we would make. Can we live with that thought? Can we find ourselves outside the boxes of categorization, knowing that we are neither good nor bad? Can we live with the knowledge that we could all have been the one who shot someone in a war to protect our own? And, would that make us evil? Or, just human?
If we take the time to talk to someone who has done something sinister to us, will we be able to find meaning and sympathy with their story, if their actions came from the need for protection of life or property? Would our sympathy change if their reason for the same action is keeping up appearances, or gain respect from others? How do we describe sinister deeds to ourselves, or to others around?
Ok, I am not far into my own philosophic questioning…..let me stop:)
In his new book Sønnen (the Son), Jo Nesbø has created a whole new character, and the story has biblical scriptures undertones.
After the interview, I definitely felt the urge to start reading more of Nesbø….and look out for the movies. Leonardo Dicaprio has taken to Nesbø and will produce and even play in some film adaptations of his books.