Tuesday, 20 November 2012


After a lifetime of being nice, Doppler realises he doesn’t like people that much and sets off to live in the forest by himself, leaving his life, and wife and children, behind. When he becomes desperate for food, he kills an elk. But the elk was a mother and leaves behind a calf. A calf that won’t go away. Doppler reluctantly takes the calf into his tent and soon names him Bongo. After his father, who wasn’t called Bongo but is dead.

I want to share with you what’s written on the back of the proof because it’s one of the best blurbs I’ve read this year (and I bet it won’t see the light of day otherwise).

Hello there.

My name is Bongo.

I live in the woods with a man called Doppler, who stabbed my mother with a hunting knife when I was very young. I am an elk btw. A Norwegian elk.

A writer called Erland has written a whole book about Doppler and me. It’s already sold a squillion copies in Norway, and lots of readers said it was a deeply subversive fable about the consumer society, middle-class angst and that sort of thing.

But I know better.

We are legion, our movement will triumph.


And I guess that sets the tone for the book. Not that it’s written from Bongo’s point of view; that would be silly. He’s an elk and he can’t talk (despite Doppler’s efforts to teach him). The narrative is first person from Doppler’s perspective and it’s not really about Bongo. But I love Bongo! And their odd little relationship out there in the wild before their peace is shattered. I think I’d quite like an elk as a friend but then I’d have to live in the woods without my creature comforts.

There are moments when Doppler’s not a very likeable character; he is making a concerted effort to be selfish but there’s something charming about him. He doesn’t get to shake off his niceness that easily. Doppler goes to extreme lengths to escape the consumerism of his life but there’s a lot that rings true. He is plagued by the incessant and pointless noise of children’s TV shows, his son is practically addicted to them but somewhere along the way, modern life ceases to matter. Life can be good and fun without the mod-cons and sometimes the race to beat the Joneses gets in the way of living.

A charming, lovely, odd and thought-provoking book. It’s the perfect antidote to the madness of Christmas. Not that Doppler is a particularly festive read but it does span over the winter months and there is a Christmas scene of sorts.

Originally written in Norwegian by Erlend Loe, this edition has been translated into English by Don Bartlett (of Nesbo fame) and Don Shaw. Published by Head of Zeus in the UK, the hardback and ebook editions will be available from 1st December 2012. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Goodreads | Amazon


  1. Super excited to read this - big fan of Loe, and this sounds awesome! Great review. :)

  2. Sounds quirky and fun!

  3. I do love books written from an animal's POV. I'm so glad this is as charming as it sounds. I have a copy and look forward to reading it nearer Christmas

    1. Oh it's only the proof blurb that's from the elk's perspective, which is why I don't think it'll end up on the final edition as I get that it's a bit misleading. The relationship between Doppler and Bongo is lovely though. Treats him like a child! :)

  4. I like the sound of this, thanks for reviewing (although my shelves groan from the amount of books I add and a lot are due to your reviews!).

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

  5. This sounds brilliant! I will look out for it. Thanks for the lovely review.

  6. I'm intrigued! Added to my TBR stack.


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