Monday, January 21, 2013

RANDOM REVIEW MONDAY (1): Doppler by Erlend Loe

Random Review Monday is a weekly meme, run by me, Reeka at BoundbyWords. Each week, I will choose a book from the fiction shelves at work (local bookstore), by simply closing my eyes, and pointing! I will read the book within the week, and review it the following Monday. This gives me a chance to get out of my comfort zone, and hopefully find some hidden gems!


Title:                      Doppler
Author:                  Erlend Loe
Release Date:     Oct 13/2012 (republished date)
Publisher:           Anansi International
Page Count:        192
Acquired:            Work Borrow
Format:              Hardcover
Read From:         Jan 4-18/2013
Goodreads:         ADD
Preorder:            Amazon/Indigo/The Book Depository

A Guardian Book of the Year and Chapters/Indigo Best Book

A bestseller in Scandinavia -- Doppler is the enchanting, subversive, and very unusual story about one man and his moose.

This beguiling modern fable tells the story of a man who, after the death of his father, abandons his home, his family, his career, and the trappings of civilization for a makeshift tent in the woods where he adopts a moose-calf named Bongo. Or is it Bongo who adopts him? Together they devote themselves, with some surprising results, to the art of carefree living.

Hilarious, touching, and poignant in equal measure -- you will read it with tear-stained cheeks and sore sides -- Doppler is also a deeply subversive novel and a strong criticism of modern consumer culture.


This book happened at exactly the right time in my life. I've come to a point where the things, and moments, that had meant something for SO long, have now become frivolous, and unnecessary. I pretty much wanted to highlight every other sentence in this novel, and if I hadn't borrowed it from work, I probably would have. Also, I have not laughed out loud the way I did while reading this book in a very, very long time.

Doppler lived a life of man with a wife and two children, one teenaged girl, the other, a boy, still floating through a cloud of innocence at the precious age of 3. We don't meet their acquaintance initially though, as the book opens into an expanse of greenery, and open air-the forest, Doppler's new residence. We learn that after living a rather routine life, and upon hearing that his father has died, Doppler-with the help of a painful epiphany-has given it all up, packed it all in..or er..out, and set up house in the woods. He has also adopted a moose-calf, and is quite content with it all.

Such a simple joy this book was. I savoured Doppler's days of leisure, and commended him for turning his back on the conventional. Though I didn't exactly agree with this lack of responsibility for his family, I found myself wishing that we could all be so lucky: to find happiness in the less obvious things. It made me feel privileged in the worst way, sitting in my room, on my fancy leather couch, sipping from my fancy mug of tea, reading the truths of truths.

"You're here and then you're not. From one day to the next. I saw it all in a flash and realised that the difference is so overwhelming that the mind has to acknowledge its limitations and pass. All the things you can be and have, and then at the drop of a hat all things you cannot be and have because you have been and had for the last time."

Doppler was an extremely funny character-I LOVED his musings, especially the ones that involved him speaking to Bongo, the moose-calf. I felt the love in that relationship more strongly than I feel with characters in a romantic situation-it was pure, and not one bit contrived. Just a simple love for someone/something that was only able to listen-no judgement, no awkward conversation. I also appreciated Doppler's ability to contradict his beliefs, and quite easily at that. In his quest to abandon society, he ended up unintentionally helping others in their own search for meaning. It's corny, but it gave me a new sort of hope for humanity-people can be good, even when they don't mean to be.

This book was short, and brimming with meaning. I recommend it to anyone who ever sought to think beyond the daily routines and obligations of life. Anyone who's ever just wanted to say, "No, I'm not doing that today. I think I'll go for a walk instead." Someone who's just wanted to keep on walking, see where it would take them. That person needs to read this book.

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