Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lazy Days by Erlend Loe

Lazy Days I need a new shelf called "Silly." Loe is talented, no doubt about it. A few times laughs escaped me in a surprise assault. But he indulges himself this time. I suspect he didn't have a subject but needed to publish, so he just picked something--anything--so he could make a few bucks. Such is his reputation in Europe and Norway that he could pull that off.

A playwright and his family vacation in Germany. The playwright, obsessed with Nigella Lawson since his wife gave him one of her cookbooks for Christmas, does not like Germany and pretends to be working while his family tours. In fact, he daydreams about Nigella in her "thin blue sweater" making him taste her concoctions. He's got the whole ridiculous obsession thing down, humiliatingly familiar to us all as it is. He makes it funny, because his wife seems to divine what he's up to and doesn't seem to mind awfully much. We can hear her sigh. She's just as happy to have him out of her hair, what with his comments about Germany getting very annoying and sometimes embarrassing.

For those brain-dead from a fast-paced working life who none-the-less feel guilty on vacation without having a book on their chaise as they sit in the sun, this nothing-really-happens ridiculous train-of-thought by a Norwegian nutcase is a good companion. It's funny enough to pick up and put down for a week without ever being really challenged.

Loe's Doppler was a runaway bestseller in Norway and Europe. It established his reputation and is also small, funny, and great vacation material. It might be a classic of existential angst in our time of plenty-for-some. It is perfect for that overworked executive beginning to wonder if life in the fast lane is worth the effort.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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