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Posted: November 24, 2019

An entertaining and educational book

Book Review

By Derryll White

Adler-Olsen, Jussi (2017).  The Scarred Woman.

Adler-Olsen is known for his dark humour, fast-moving and witty prose, and for his noir style that seeks the dark corners of Danish society.  In this volume he works very hard to find some respect for camels.

But the darkness pervades, with one central character having a breakdown and seriously considering suicide, another railing against Denmark’s generous social system and killing abusers, and still another living in the Nazi glories and abuses of the Second World War. Adler-Olsen embraces an enormous solitude which threatens to drive Carl Mørk over the edge of his own despair.

As much as ‘The Scarred Woman’ examines the darkest side of human nature, it also celebrates the love and caring latent in even the most sated and callous individuals. Carl Mørk and Assad come through with love and tenderness when it counts. Adler-Olsen continues to offer the reader insights into Danish society as well as hope for the more fragile human condition.  He entertains at the same time he educates.


Excerpts from the novel:

DENMARK – And considering the moral decline in Denmark at present, there were many other things that deserved harsher criticism than her little vendetta.  The politicians were acting like pigs, and insane ideologues that were better suited to dictatorships.  What did a few petty murders matter compared to the character assassination of an entire nation?

ATROCITIES – On the ground to the right of the man lay three bodies with their heads smashed in.  To the left of the victim stood another two bound men awaiting their fate.

“Fuck,” whispered Carl.  He swallowed a couple of times and pushed the photo away.  There had been a time when people had thought that this kind of evil could never happen again, but all it did was remind him of the reality in large parts of the world today.  How could this be allowed to happen over and over again?

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.

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