Naïve. Super Paperback – 7 Jul 2005
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Erlend Loe's cult novel Naïve. Super, about a 25-year old who is unable to find any meaning in his life, was a huge success in his native Norway, and a bestseller throughout Europe--and it isn't difficult to see why.
The narrator has given up on doing his Masters and gone to stay at his brother's house. His brother is away on business and needs his mail redirecting via fax. Aside from that there is nothing to do. So he makes lists, worries about time, befriends a small boy who lives next door, worries about his good friend and his bad friend and tries to understand what being, and being here and now, means. In mostly very short, sometimes elliptical, wry but never ironic chapters Loe works at his character's fear of the meaningless and works meaning into the slightest of material. There is a lovely moment toward the end of the novel when the narrator's brother picks up and plays with the child's toy he has previously berated the narrator for holding on to. Sometimes, we feel, imputing meaning to the simpler things may well be the only route to understanding the more complex ones.
The novel is reminiscent of "60s" writer Richard Brautigan at his best, has the knowing artlessness of Douglas Coupland and shares a love of lists with Nick Hornby but Loe has bagfuls of his own unique charm. This is a beautifully unaffected, funny book, refreshingly free of cynicism, which manages to raise serious existential questions while retaining throughout the lightest of touches and the quirkiest of observations.--Mark Thwaite --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Loe certainly has some of Salinger's lightness of touch, and often comic voice of his unnamed narrator recalls Salinger's Holden Caulfield. A charming debut novel." (The Times)
"it displays a canny lightness of touch and a great deal of charm. An effortlessly hip and savvy antidote to the rainy day blues." (Sleazenation)
"It is fascinating, how much depth this young author can convey in a simple language - a major talent." (Oldenburgische Volkzeitung, Germany)
"A book overflowing with creative talent on just about every page. Well calculated naivety." (Dagbladet, Norway)
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Top customer reviews
He writes lists - fascinating ones - of things that made him happy when he was younger and make him happy now. He buys a ball and spends hours - like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape - simply throwing it against the wall. He buys a kid's toy - the one where you hammer bars through holes - and he hammers for hours, so much so that the neighbour thinks he's doing DIY. He befriends a small boy from another apartment, and this being Norway, nobody calls Childline. In fact the kid's parents leave the child with him whilst they go out of town.
It's a time of faxes and phone booths not internet and smartphones. He sends faxes to his good friend and long lists of questions to an author who has written a book about time. He ponders love and takes his opportunities when they arise. He goes to New York and lists the weird stuff he's seen - stuff you know MUST have actually happened because honestly, you wouldn't make it up.
Does it go anywhere? Nowhere too important - or maybe the most important of places. Will he find himself and will he like the person he finds?
I loved it. The slightly 'autistic' writing style was open, funny, touching and very memorable.
well, this is a modern author's take on the genre of introspectivity, the wrapped up world of one's own thoughts and the question of whether we're actually ok ("sane").
it offers an outlook on life where the questions of existence conjure up even more questions - why dont we see life like others? are we in slow motion? is there such a thing as 'excitement', 'normality' etc?
honestly, this book is worth a read if you're interested in how people's minds work. its not about happy endings or startling conclusions, but a person's journey and struggle through every day life. it's not page turning in the sense that there are cliff hangers, but it is quite a compelling read.
Amusing but possibly needs some elaboration. It could be a first draft of a Proustian novel or a script for one of those aimless but amusing films from France in the seventies
Pleasant one off
I found his ennui and feelings of things being pointless and 'not fitting' really relatable. And his obsession with time often made me smile.
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Sleep was more interesting.
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