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37 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
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2 star:
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written page-turner - designed to make you anti-social for a day or two
Shadow, by Karin Alvtegen is an example of a book that only a few years ago would have been lost to English speakers, but one good thing about the "Dragon Tattoo" thing is that publishers seem to be queuing up to support translations of other Scandinavians and put them on our shelves and e-readers.

It is very difficult to classify this book. It is not really a...
Published on 29 April 2011 by Thomas Cunliffe

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I thought this was an intelligently written and gripping book
I thought this was an intelligently written and gripping book. Last third read in bed without getting up and getting on with anything but that is not the only reason I feel down. The story is suspenseful but unlike many crime novels deals with a multiple of tragedies and tries to reflect on the human condition. There is minimal good to be seen in any of the...
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. J. R. Neeld


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing and didn't hold my interest, 25 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
This book takes a very dim view of human nature. The story is intriguing but ultimately just depressing, with its focus on anguished writers, and subtext that art can only come from the unhappy and tortured soul. There are very few smpathetic chatacters -and those who appear,do so only briefly. Also, the Kindle version is entirely in italics, making it VERY hard to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Life is not something that "happens to us" ", 14 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
The author has written a compelling tale of the bleakness of humanity and the lengths that some will go to protect themselves and their reputation at whatever the cost. Alvtegen cunningly weaves layer upon layer of complicated and complex story threads told by the characters themselves. These stories twine and inter twine in a series of flashbacks and past histories that bring the all choices of the characters and the subsequent consequences together.

It is a slow burner but the final thrilling dénouements are relentless and left me feeling exhausted and rather shaken.

A dark, dark read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 26 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
The book begins with a child being abandoned. He has been told not to move so he obediently remains where he is for hours. A note is found on him which reads "Please take care of this child". Luckily he is rescued but this unhappy incident has a profound effect on his life.

The main character is Axel Ragnerfeldt a writer of beautiful inspiring books. He is highly regarded but suffers eventually from writer's block. How he overcomes this causes great unhappiness to him and to others.

As he ages and becomes frail his son, Jan-Erik, tours the country talking about his father's books and manages to put over the emotion and wonder with his storytelling instincts. In this way he draws to his bed women who are spellbound by these wonderful lectures.

Underlying all this is the tension caused by lies, a murder is committed and others become involved in the tensions caused by the instinct to remain highly thought of in the eyes of the public.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 28 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
I bought this book because I'm deeply in love with the Nordic Culture, but I didn't honestly expected this book to be that good and the sad. The story of the most famous and celebrated family in the whole Sweden covers some (lots of!) sad and untold events that let you full with despair. I actually ended to think that nothing in the world looks the way it really is, and this made me think a lot.

The story is powerful, occasionally over-intricated but it continously keeps your attention. I think this is one of the most beutiful books I've read in this last year.

(Forgive me for my English)

Alex, from Italy
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4.0 out of 5 stars intricate!, 6 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
This book is full of twists and turns!
It is very satisfying as the consequences of inactivity are dealt with which are every bit as damaging to the relationships between the characters as the infidelities! Also the consequence of one act and its destructive results is covered in the lives of all the main characters. A complicated but beautifully crafted work on all levels!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark family indeed, 24 Jun. 2010
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Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
The most chilling but compelling novel I have read this year. It is really the story of the lost Kristoffer, yet he doesn't appear until mid-way through. There is something sinister about the Ragnerfeldt family from the beginning yet it is difficult to see where the story is going. One could not imagine the depths of deceit, secrecy and betrayal an individual could stoop to. This is an amazing book which Alvtegen crafts with panache towards a shattering denouement. Brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars one to shout about, 20 July 2012
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This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
I love scandi thrillers but this is one of the best , in fact it should not be classed as just another thriller , it is literature , family saga and real edge of seat story telling . I almost wanted to shout out loud at some of the twists and turns towards the end when the home truths are revealed . Books rarely are as good as this .
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly constructed... but I hated the ending, 5 Oct. 2010
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emma who reads a lot (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
After the grim cold minimalism of much Scandinavian crime writing, here's one with a bit more style. Alvtegen's tale of a family with a haunted past unfolds slowly and elegantly, and is beautifully written and constructed. It was a strong contrast to the Indridason book I read directly before it, for this book is far more filmic and tightly plotted, as you wait impatiently for the secrets to be revealed. It almost felt overwrought in comparison to the stripped back plainness of other Scandi writers, but really that does crank up the wattage a bit, and I imagine would be more to general tastes.

My only complaint about this book - and it is a crime novel, so I'm deducting quite a bit... - is that the ending was IMHO totally annoying. So much effort, so many stories woven together and so much clever construction - to have such an open and possibly dark, negative non-resolution??? I hated that...
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but too dark for me, 4 May 2011
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This review is from: Shadow (Kindle Edition)
While I found the intricate plot intriguing and clever, this tale of dysfunctional families and relationships was too dark for my taste, although the author is undoubtedly a skilled story-teller who kept my interest throughout the book. Despite the fact that there are no physical descriptions of the characters, it was easy to visualise them, but I could not warm to any of them. The revelations of deceptions, betrayals and murders, shocking as they are, failed to take my breath away, and by the time I reached the end, I felt quite depressed.

I would certainly read other books by her because of the quality of her writing, but this one was not for me.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Psychological Thriller, 25 Feb. 2009
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shadow (Paperback)
Karin Alvtegen is a perceptive writer and in this fine
well translated novel,where the suspense is maintained until
the end,she once again focuses on the psychologically estranged .
We first learn of a young boy left abandoned at the entrance
of a park,and then of the death ,in her home,of an elderly lady
living on her own,where the signed books of a famous Nobel Prize
winning author are found wrapped and stored in the freezer.
The novel traces the connections between these events,and
the disastrous consequences for many ,even those seemingly not
involved in them.
A first rate psychological thriller with a surprising ending.
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Shadow
Shadow by Karin Alvtegen (Paperback - 4 Feb. 2010)
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