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The Room by Jonas Karlsson

The Room - Jonas Karlsson


Random House UK, Vintage Publishing. Hogarth

Archive Date Feb 28 2015

Description: A quirky and unsettling tale, of dark humour and strange realities, about a bureaucrat, an open plan office and a secret room...

The Authority looks favourably upon meticulousness, efficiency and ambition. Bjorn has all of this in spades, but it's only in the Room that he can really shine. Unfortunately, his colleagues see things differently. In fact, they don't even see the Room at all.

The Room is a short, sharp and fiendish fable in the tradition of Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett and Charlie Kauffman. If you have ever toiled in an office, felt like the world was against you or questioned the nature of reality then this is the novel for you.

To Hanna

Opening: The first time I walked into the room I turned back almost at once. I was actually trying to find the toilet but got the wrong door. A musty smell hit me when I opened the door, but I don't remember thinking much about it. I hadn't actually noticed there was anything at all along this corridor leading to the lifts, apart from the toilets. Oh, I thought. A room.
I opened the door, then shut it. No more than that.

Yep, it is a hook.
'Actually' was used twice.
First person - the 'I' will give eye-ache.

This from my better half, the viking:
"The room, by Jonas Karlsson is one of the stories from a collection called "den perfekte vännen" which translated in to english means "the perfect friend". Jonas Karlsson is indeed an actor, but to call him famous is strechting it a bit. He's been in a lot of swedish productions, mainly childrens and stupid comedies. He was "Waltin" in the tv-miniseries about the killing of Olof Palme. it was called "the death of a pilgrim". But famous?? Not in my opinion anyway.... but then I'm just me. Famous actor in Sweden today would have to be Stellan Skarsgård or one or two of his sons, or maybe Peter Stormare, now that's a famous actor who plays a very nasty villain...
Jonas Karlsson is not the author of "the hundred year old man...." that was written by Jonas Jonasson..."

Absurdist existentialism along Kafkaesque lines probably sums this up about right. Enjoyable enough, and boy! does he get office behaviours bang on the money, however the drawn out fantasy passes its best-before date long before the punch-line is delivered. There is the scary thought that if Björn had been remotely more charismatic he would have turned into a tyrant quicker than you could snap your fingers and say an Alladin's 'abracadabra'.

As an aside, I was reading The Golem at the same time as The Room, about a room without a door that only opens every thirty-three years, which I preferred.