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Lang: A Novel of Suspense Paperback – January 12, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf; First Edition edition (January 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786717246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786717248
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,840,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nordic alienation and reflection meet a critique of American cultural dominance in this suspenseful literary hybrid. Finnish Westö's first novel to be translated into English follows the dramatic midlife turns of Christian Lang, a sometime Helsinki writer whose pseudointellectual talk show boosted him to local fame. Lang's problem is not so much a failed marriage and looming cancellation as that he's fallen out of step with his culture, which is entering capitalist hyperspace and expressing itself through reality TV and Game Boys. Lang delivers a defense of empathy (as opposed to me-firstism) in his final show, but an obsessive love affair with a beautiful, independent and secretive young mother reveals itself as an entanglement with dark and strange passions, all of which lead to unanswerable questions of innocence and intent. Westö's most remarkable talent is for describing the existential vertigo that leads his bookish characters to alarming acts. (Feb. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The title character in this slow-burning suspense story is something of a Scandinavian Norman Mailer just past the peak of his cultural moment. Christian Lang, "post-modern prize catch in the muddy sea of Nordic realism," is a Finnish novelist and creator of The Blue Hour, a popular interview show. But he hasn't written much lately, and he'll soon be reduced to appearing on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Casting about for something new to feed his soul and his enormous ego, he chances upon Sarita, an intelligent young beauty who adores him but can't disentangle herself from an abusive ex. The book opens with Lang calling a fellow novelist in the middle of the night to borrow a shovel. That friend narrates Lang's story, delivering a deft, downbeat meditation on the important ways in which people can't be there for each other--and the surprising ways in which, when the chips are down, they suddenly find they can. Westo's gift for misdirection also enables him to slip in an emotionally charged twist that will force readers to reassess all that comes before it. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John on March 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
Lang by Kjell Westö was published in 2005 for English readers and his is first crime/suspend novel. Kjell is a Swedish speaking Finlander author of several novels and books of poetry since 1986. Lang is psychological mystery with its polar opposite being Roseanna which is a Police Procedural story by the husband-and-wife writers Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. In Lang a crime is committed but the focus is on the why and its consequences rather then on its detection. The story is driven by the question what redemption is possible if your life is driven by fame and success rather then by love.

Lang is the host of Finland's premier chat show-think Michael Parkinson crossed with Jeremy Paxman and started his rise to the top of the cultural heights by being a successful highbrow novelist. But his second marriage has just failed, and his son from his first is on drugs. He hasn't written in over ten years and his TV ratings are slipping as viewers switch to new Friday night formats such as Big Brother and How to be a Millionaire. Worse still, he is in is 40's going grey and fading physically.

A chance encounter with Sarita in a bar starts an obsessive lust affair complicated further which it becomes clear that she is equally locked in an unhealthy relationship with the violent father of her son. Yet it's like a drug that initially gives the high of a revitalised career but then destroys it as the addicts needs to have more of what he craves leads to murder...but also redemption.

The story is not told by Lang but his best friend who is contacted in the opening scene for a spade to burry the body. Lang browbeats him to get the spade but when arrested keeps his friends involvement secret.
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