Review: The Room
Jonas Karlsson, Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith
Oh, my! I didn’t see that coming. I should have, but got caught up in the final scene. Who is Bjorn? That’s pretty much what the reader is left to decide. That, and who all the others are as well. Bjorn and his relationship with his office coworkers is the setting. Watch them interact with Bjorn and Bjorn with them. You have met all the characters, and probably have been several of them yourself. See how they meet the challenges set before them by Karlsson. It just keeps getting better, in my opinion. I sat back and marveled that so much could be packed into a mere 180 pages.
The Room is the most thought provoking read I have encountered in a very long time. Why? Because the author leaves so much room for the reader to interact with his story. Several of the endorsements likened Karlsson’s work to Kafka. Another mentioned Beckett, and yes I can see how that could be. They may have influenced Karlsson, but he writes for today’s audience who seem to prefer more room to roam within the story. Does the reader have the final say here?
What did I not like? Can’t find much to talk about here, but for those that must have everything all neat and tidy at the end, or for those that need loads of action and less character, you may find a new way to appreciate fiction with this book. It’s short, give it try. You will not leave quite the same.
The publisher included a group discussion guide for reading groups to use if they so choose.
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.