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A luminous novel, a police thriller, and the funniest book about war crimes and dementia you are likely to read
Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway: a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman, who failed his only son by sending him to Vietnam to die. Not until now, anyway.
Home alone one morning, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor’s young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. But old age and circumstances are altering Sheldon’s experience of time and memory. He is haunted by dreams of his son Saul’s life and by guilt over his death. As Sheldon and the boy look for a haven in an alien world, reality and fantasy, past and present, weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.
Norwegian by Night introduces an ensemble of unforgettable characters—Sheldon and the boy, Rhea and Lars, a Balkan war criminal named Enver, and Sigrid and Petter, the brilliantly dry-witted investigating officers—as they chase one another, and their own demons, through the wilderness at the end of the world.
Derek B. Miller is the director of The Policy Lab and a senior fellow with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Born and raised in Boston, he has lived abroad for over fifteen years in Israel, England, Hungary, Switzerland, and Norway.read more
No real spoiler alerts: Sheldon Horowitz, a Jewish Marine (once a US Marine, always a Marine. Hoo Hah) moves to Norway with his granddaughter and her Norwegian husband upon the death of his wife. The late wife, and consequently everyone, thinks he is suffering from dementia.At first, I must admit, I did not much like this book. I found it patronizing to the elderly--as if every single man child among them suffers from dementia. But Sheldon Horowitz grew on me, and I became attuned to his slipping into memories then into the present without warning. Perhaps this is something that will be addressed by Houghton Mifflin with proper typesetting.One editorial comment must also be addressed (will HM read this?) and that is, "come on! do you think your readers are idiots?" Out of the blue Rhea tells her grandfather there is a back door leading from the basement and two pages later he needs to use it? As in, life depends on his using it? Fix this, and the book becomes a 4-star out of 5.This was my first read from NetGalley.comread more
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Miller's first novel features an unlikely hero, Sheldon Horowitz, an 82-year-old widower suffering from dementia. Haunted by his Korean War experiences and his son's death in Vietnam, Sheldon has moved to Norway to live with his granddaughter and her husband. On hearing a violent argument outside his family's Oslo apartment, Sheldon opens his door to a Slavic-looking woman and her small son to offer them refuge from an assailant. The assailant kills the mother, but Sheldon manages to protect the boy. While Sheldon tries to keep the child safe, the police investigate the murder. Moments of humor, such as the time Sheldon bluffs his way into a fancy hotel room, enliven the narrative, but Sheldon's philosophical musings can wear (e.g., "Sanity is the thick soup of distraction that we immerse ourselves in to keep from remembering that we're gonna bite it"). This works better as a study in character than a crime novel. Agent: Rebecca Carter, Janklow & Nesbit. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.