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Norwegian by Night Paperback – May 6, 2014
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*Starred Review* Sheldon Horowitz has outlived everyone he’s known, except his granddaughter, Rhea, who fears he suffers from dementia and convinces him to move from Manhattan to Oslo, where she lives with her Norwegian husband. So the 82-year-old finds himself in a strange land, bemused by placid, orderly Norwegians. When a young woman is murdered in his apartment building, Sheldon shelters her young son and sets out to find a refuge for him. But the killer is a brutal Kosovar war criminal, and Sheldon must rely on his Korean War scout-sniper training to evade the killer. No brief plot outline can do justice to a book that deserves to find a place on a few best-of-the-year lists. Sheldon is a brilliantly imagined character, a true mensch, made of Greatest Generation stuff. His wife and Rhea believed he was a mere file clerk, not a wounded combat hero. Only his son, who died in Vietnam following Sheldon’s example, knew the real story, and Sheldon dreams nightly of being on patrol in Vietnam with him. Miller keeps the reader guessing about Sheldon’s dementia. Might he simply be an old man appropriately focused on past and present rather than the future? Oslo police inspector Sigrid Odegard, hunting the killer, is another wonderful creation, and her phone conversations with her farmer father are often wry, archetypally Scandinavian debates. Miller joins the ranks of Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesbø, the holy trinity of Scandinavian crime novelists. Norwegian by Night is very different than their work but equally satisfying. --Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Best of 2013, The Guardian
Best of 2013, Financial Times
Best of 2013, The Economist
"Has the brains of a literary novel and the body of a thriller."
-- New York Times
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Sheldon is angry. War and the mistreatment of Jews are two of his main issues. When he moves to Oslo (and part of my enjoyment was the author’s witty portrayal of Norwegians), he clashes with a pocket of Serbian war criminals to save a four-year-old boy. (The author is a senior fellow with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.) The only ding on the book is that some of the reminiscing and introspection goes on too long (the Viet Nam conflict imagined by Sheldon). This is the redemptive story of a heroic grandpa. I would compare it to City of Thieves by David Benioff for dark humor, high stakes, and compelling characters. Highly recommended.
American, octogenarian, ex-Marine, Jewish, possibly demented, Shelton Horowitz, is on the run in Norway hiding a young boy whose mother was brutally murdered. From there you won't be able to turn the pages fast enough. With scenes from the Vietnam war as well as the Korean war, Miller, paints us a picture of a patriot...and adds a soupcon of magic realism. Maybe.
So read this, and by all means read, "The Girl in Green"! I hope we don't have to wait too long for Miller's next novel!