Norwegian by Night

Norwegian by Night

Book - 2013 | First U.S. edition.
Average Rating:
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After witnessing a murder in Olso, elderly former Marine sniper and watch repairman, Sheldon Horrowitz, flees to safety with the newly orphaned son of the victim and becomes haunted by memories of his own son who died in Vietnam.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2012.
ISBN: 9780547934877
Branch Call Number: MILLE
Characteristics: 292 pages ; 24 cm.

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j
jenniferrabbit
Jul 21, 2017

Excellent. An New York watchmaker, a widower, moves to Norway with his grandaughter and her husband. An immigrant upstairs neighbor is killed and the Grandpa flees with the woman’s non-english-speaking little boy. Although he has always told his family he was a clerk during the Korean war, he had recently maintained he was a highly trained combat sniper – his family chalks . this up to dementia. As the book progresses we begin to suspect dementia is not the source of these memories.

A unique page-turner, combining international politics, terrorism, family dynamics, Norwegian police procedurals, cross-cultural cooperation, the kindness of strangers, military tactics and the sometimes funny insights and imaginations of an old Jewish watchmaker.

Best book I have read in a long, long time!

e
EmilyEm
Jun 18, 2017

Sheldon Horowitz, widower, Korean conflict veteran, New York Jew, grandfather to Rhea and now living with she and her husband in Oslo, witnesses a killing and rescues the victim’s young son. Well, maybe.

Engaging plotting and characters. You can’t help cheering for Sheldon and his survival skills and Sigrid and Petter, the police investigators investigating the crime.

n
nellybells
May 29, 2017

So many 5-star ratings and I'll add my own as well. I loved this book and as others have said, didn't want it to end. Read the other reviews and that way I don't have to iterate all the many many ways this book is so remarkable.

d
diaparalectdoxical
May 27, 2017

Kadri: "I wouldn't mind recovering the contents of the box."
"What's in it?" Gjon asks.
"Things Senka collected from Kosovo. Things we don't want remembered. It's time to forgive and forget, you see. Not to wake sleeping beasts." (157)

In Norwegian by NIght many beasts awaken, many fraught memories return to haunt the novel's protagonists. Enver, a Kosovan nationalist and slaughterer of Serbs, returns to hunt down Senka, the woman he'd raped and had a child by. Twenty years after its end, the Yugoslav conflict returns to disrupt peaceful Norway. Happy romantic relationships face ugly ethnic tensions believed to be dead and buried. And the novel's hero, Donny loses hold of reality in the grip of memories of the death of his son, Saul, in Vietnam, a death he feels partially responsible for. Donny desperately needs to protect the orphaned Paul as a displaced and bloody act of redemption.

g
Gril
Dec 15, 2016

Great book, a book you don't want to end.

e
ek1702
Jan 29, 2014

A great read. As one reviewer states - you can' t read it fast enough but you don' t want it to end too soon. Good humour but also suspenseful. Good characterization. Heartily recommend it.

f
finn75
Jan 19, 2014

Brilliant. Funny. A real page turner. Heart breaking. Worth a read. Best book i have read in awhile!

Cdnbookworm Nov 08, 2013

This novel has an unlikely hero and a plot that grabs you and doesn't let go. Sheldon Horowitz is 82, and has moved to Norway to live with his granddaughter Rhea and her husband Lars following his wife's death.
Sheldon was too young for World War II, but was driven to sign up early for the Korean war. He was a Marine sniper, but told his family he was a clerk. When his son Saul came of age, there was another war, and he encouraged Saul to sign up for his country. As a Jewish-American Sheldon felt that he had a reputation to defend, and that his son should do the same. But his son didn't return from Vietnam, and Sheldon and his wife ended up raising Saul's daughter.
Sheldon's age, his guilt at Saul's death, and his love for Rhea, have all brought him to where he is now. So when he hears a bad argument from Rhea's neighbour, he is moved to do the right thing, and he opens the door and offers sanctuary to the woman and boy who are standing in fear in the hall. But the sanctuary is short-lived, and Sheldon and the boy end up fleeing.
As Sheldon moves between his knowledge of what danger the boy is in, and his own memories and guilt about the past, he relies on his training and instincts to protect the boy and get him to what he believes is a safe place.
The boy's danger comes from Enver, a Balkan man, driven by his own past and trying to cover that past no matter what the barriers might be.
And the police, Sigrid and Petter, are one step behind Sheldon, trying to find him and trying to find Enver and the evidence necessary to bring him to justice.
With humour, suspense, and wonderful characters, this book is one you will not want to put down, as you root for Sheldon to make it, and fear that he might not. A story of love, guilt, and instinct.
I love too that the cover is perfect, drawing from the plot and giving one a sense of the setting.

k
KarenBeenken
Aug 19, 2013

Excellent! So wonderfully written. I didn't want the book to end. Can't wait for his next book.

suffolkpunch Jun 26, 2013

By turns terrifying, heartbreaking, and witty (and often all three at once), this fine first novel deserves a huge, lasting audience. I hope its gifted, knowing author will follow it up with something equally impressive; if not, many thanks to him for one of the most piercing, provocative, and lasting novels of 2013. Along with Karen Joy Fowler's "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" and David Gilbert's "& Sons," "Norwegian by Night" has already gained a permanent hold on my brain -- and heart.

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