2009 Random House, translated by Marlaine Delargy, 438 pages, ISBN 978-0-385-34222-3
THE DARKEST ROOM is set on the island of Oland of the east coast of Sweden. On the eastern side of Oland are the twin lighthouses of Eel Point, one giving off a red light at night, the other a white light that rarely seems to work. Near the lighthouses just inland is the manor house built 150 years ago from the timbers of shipwrecks.
Katrine and Joakim Westin have bought the manor house and are in the process of moving permanently to the island from Oslo with their two children. Coincidentally Katrine's mother has also lived in this house and extracts from a journal she wrote lead us through the house's history.
On the night that Joakim goes back to Oslo to collect the last of their belongings tragedy strikes and one of their family dies.
This is one of those novels which is very difficult to review because there is so much in it. It requires the reader to at times set aside disbelief in the paranormal. You need to accept that there are times when the past can reach out into the present.
One of the fascinating things about this book is the way Theorin has built it from the founding of the manor house, and developed a chronology of the tragedies the house has witnessed from then to the present day. He interweaves historical episodes from Katrine's mother's journal with current chronology. The result is a patchwork of folklore, community memory, and modern day realism. The result is engrossing.
My rating: 5
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- It's A Crime (or a Mystery)
- Crime Scraps
- International Noir Fiction
- Reviewing the Evidence
Read the first chapter of THE DARKEST ROOM online.
Read my review of ECHOES FROM THE DEAD - my rating 4.9