O! what Man will do fore a Rime!

Self-proclaimed bibliophile, culture nut and nerdfighter. English lit. and linguistics geek. Future career in publishing.

Doppler by Erlend Loe

Doppler - Erlend; Bartlett,  Don; Shaw,  Don Loe

I have no idea to what extent these thoughts are rooted in reality. Nor if what we so boldly call reality exists at all. The only thing I can be fairly sure about is that the fire warms me and that a little moose by the name of Bongo lies at my feet purring, if that's what you call it when moose emit sounds of pleasure.

- Doppler

p. 100



Note: The review below is taken directly from my Goodreads account.


Doppler is about a Norwegian man, Doppler, who hits his head really hard in a cycling accident not too long after his father dies. Because of this, he comes to the decision that he doesn't like people/human beings/mankind and forsakes civilization to live in the forest, where he befriends a moose calf.

I don't really have much to say about the book. I think it was well-written (though I can never tell with translated works -- how much of the translator(s) leaks into the edition?) and the story was inventive and original. It's not something I expect publishers to be pushing and hyping, and that's what I like: it's such an out-of-the-ordinary book. Also, it's humourous and the interactions Doppler had with Bongo, the moose calf, and the people he met while living in the forest were a delight to read.

What drags my rating down is that I couldn't tell if Loe was purposefully making Doppler so naive and hypocritical, or if I'm just pulling this conclusion out of my ass. To me, Doppler abides by the rules he sees fit -- essentially, the opposite of what he believes society forces you to conform to. Where he sees society as trying to progress, he's trying to regress. The naivete is that Doppler thinks he can achieve this regression and that society will follow suit. Except, he depends upon society to provide him with things he can't live without: milk, axes, sugar, paint for his totem pole. He can't get these items on his own and if society went back to the hunter-gatherer/bartering days, then Doppler would be doomed because who would want to spend time making certain items if there would be no guaranteed return? Basically, Doppler's hypocrisy makes him a grievance to know although he (and Loe) makes some good philosophical points throughout about consumerism, ambiguous niceties, how we can easily instill our own dogmas and opinions into children at an early age, how we can't tell people straight to their faces what we dislike about them, etc.

(Another thing that brought my rating lower is the ending. I'm not a fan of the way things ended, though I know there's a sequel. I guess I'll have to check that out in the hopes that Doppler gets some sort of comeuppance.)

"I don't have much to say," as she writes a thick paragraph.

+1 for moose.

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