Terrifyingly horrific and insanely funny from one of our most original authors.
Some of the words I used to describe Matthias Waldbacken’s previous book were more than wonderful and absolutely wonderful, “There were five of us”from 2019.
I would like to use it again in this year’s novel “Poor”. Because this is probably the most baroque and at the same time the most grim real thing you’ll encounter in this year’s book harvest!
We meet young Oscar, a boy on Olaf’s farm, and Odd Bloom. The author himself notes that the time is around 1980, but like many in this story, this is highly questionable.
Anyway, one day, Oscar discovers the other main character in the book, the poor man, a strange paralyzed character hiding on the edge of the forest. The poor man picks up, and he will come soon for more surprises.
Because what Oscar thought was a wild boy would soon turn into something completely different. And here I will be careful not to reveal too much of what is, among other things, a really interesting story about escape and identity.
The poor man represents something menacing and exotic on the farm and in the local community, somewhere in rural Norway.
Matthias Waldbachen also presents us with the so-called Kaspar-Hauser syndrome.
Caspar Hauser was a son of nature who claimed to have arisen without human contact, and the syndrome he named relates to the underdevelopment of the body due to a lack of social and human stimulation.
Ultimately, “Poor” turns into a development story, peppered with powerful doses of sarcasm, which leads Oscar and the poor man to the big city of Oslo.
Along the way, they have to pass through forests and mountains, and these descriptions of nature are some of the best I can remember reading while reading in a very long time.
Obviously related to Lars Elling and his first novel “Fyrstene av Finntjern”, a writer who, like Faldbakken, is originally a visual artist.
Once in Oslo, the two are given shelter by the Bloom couple’s academic humped son, Tommy. He is a demon with a silver tongue, who knows how to maneuver between the rows of gossip.
Tommy is keen that the poor man, who has now earned a name, becomes a scandalous success in the life of the company. He is almost a social icon, due to his expressions which are the perfect blend of courage and intelligence. However, things are not going well with Oscar, as he indulges in reading books and smoking tobacco in the apartment near the Gamle Aker Church.
It builds to an ugly ugly conclusion.
One of the best things about reading Matias Faldbakken is that you have no idea which way to take the story.
You just know it’s going to be good. very well.
It is very much a matter of free imagination. As mentioned, he writes transcendentally, but also with long trails rich in subtle contemporary cultural associations and diagnoses. A combination of hyperrealism and intellectual wit that can bring to mind Karl of Knausgaard.
For reasons which I leave for the reader to discover, the poor man must finally give a speech in defense.
Great book harvest: Check out more fall big book news!
We are talking about a deluge of primitive and largely unarticulated words, an almost outdated poem. This text stretches to the limits of what can be explained, and is at the same time one of the most powerful things I’ve read in modern Norwegian novels.
If you’re ready for the fall’s most exciting and memorable reading experience, all you have to do is throw yourself into the ‘poor’.
reviewed by: Sender Hovdinak
“Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert.”