Saturday, April 05, 2014

Yours Until Death, by Gunnar Staalesen

(pb; 1979, 1993: second novel in the Varg Veum  series.  Translated from Norwegian by Margaret Amassian.)

From the back cover:

"It was at their 'torture chamber', a hut in the pinewoods nearby, that Varg Veum, Private Investigator, first encountered the gang's pathetic but deadly ferocity. Eight-year-old Roar's bicycle had been stolen and not an adult in sight dared retrieve it. But a preliminary brush with such youthful violence was as nothing compared to what awaited Veum when he got to know Roar's blue-eyed, shy yet sensuous mother, Wenche Andresen, and her estranged husband, Jonas. Veum's attempts to break up Joker and his pack of young thugs by enlisting the help of the local youth club leader proved a dead end. But not so dead as the man who lay prone with a knife in his back on the floor of Andresen's flat."


Yours is a straightforward, full-of-snappy-dialogue and entertaining non-mystery (the bad guys are easily sussed out), with few - if any - twists in the plot.  That said, this word-lean book doesn't seem to be focused on shocking plot convolutions, but rather a philosophical, wry and sometimes melancholic rumination on relationships and love - if that was the author's intention (and it reads like it was), then this is an above average novel with a quirky and engaging lead character.

Worth reading, this - perhaps even worth owning, if you're reading Yours for its philosophical points.


This book has resulted in two films.

The first film, Brun Bitter, was released in Norway on November 17, 1988.  Sølve Skagen wrote the screenplay and directed it.

Frank Krog played Alexander "Lex” Larsen (the cinematic stand-in for Varg Veum).  Kristin Kajander played Vigdis Wang.  Rolf Skøien played Johnny ‘Jocken’.  Vidar Sandem played Jens Falch (a.k.a. Falchen).  Svein Erik Brodal played "Asbjørn, videomann".  Bjørn Floberg played Sebastian Ramsberg.  Rulle Smit played Charlotte.
The loosely-linked-to-the-book remake, Varg Veum – Din til Døden, was released in Norway on March 12, 2008.  Erik Richter Strand directed the film from a screenplay by Kjersti Rasmussen.
Trond Espen Seim played Varg Veum.  Bjørn Floberg played Jacob Hamre.  Kathrine Fagerland played Anna. Endre Hellestveit played Isachsen.  Sølje Bergmann played Wenche Andresen.  Henrik Mestad played Jonas Andresen.  Jon Ketil Johnsen played Gunnar Våge.  Ulrik Lullau played Roar Andresen.
For further information on Varg Veum-related films, check out this site.

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