The Spark by o h robsson is an introspective and soul searching novel. Set in Norway, it’s both a love story and a mystery, but just what exactly happened in the opening chapter is not revealed until the end of the book. Although there are hints that something went wrong, that something terrible had happened in the past, as I read on I became involved in Kristoffer’s life as he and Eva, a former girlfriend meet again. Twelve years previously they had parted and Eva had married someone else. But is there still a spark between them?
Kristoffer, a photographer, is the narrator and Robsson’s relaxed style gets right inside Kristoffer’s mind. His doubts, fears and hopes are all revealed, both as he reflects on events and expresses his feelings to his grandfather, his friend Mats and his dog Anja. I particularly liked his talks with his grandfather, who lives alone in the summer in a small cabin high up in the hills. It is rather rambling and over wordy in places, with just a bit too much philosophising which slows the narrative down, but beneath all that the tension is building below the surface just waiting to break out. And events move quickly in the last quarter of the book bringing it to a dramatic conclusion.
The setting is beautiful in the Norwegian mountains, fjords and valleys. An added bonus is the special features section at the end of the book – photographs of krisotoffer’s world, and o h robsson’s world and an author interview of quick questions with rambling answers. The photographs are beautiful – Robsson was a photographer before he became a novelist – and complement the story, but even without them I could easily visualise the scenery, as in this extract:
The mist is lying in wait for me. Less than two hundred metres ahead, it’s clinging to the valley sides and swallowing everything beyond, giving the lower part of the valley an eerie, almost supernatural effect. Days like this, it’s all too easy to understand how the legends of trolls thrived so long in this part of the world, the stories of their sightings passed on from family to family, generation to generation.
I reach the edge of the mist and it’s like going from above water to below water. Within seconds I’ve left behind the big blue sky I’ve spent the day with, and entered a new world of muted greens and pastel shades. A pale grey ceiling of cloud moves above me, the horizon only a few metres away, then moments later it’s a hundred metres away.
I feel like I’m driving through a landscape painting. (Loc. 80)
The Spark is written in the present tense, which I always find a bit of a challenge, as my preference is for books written in the past tense. But there are some books that make me forget the tense and for most of this book I was simply unaware of it as I became involved in the characters and their daily lives. All in all it is a good read; it’s not a book to rush through, but one to take your time over and ponder.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2553 KB
- Print Length: 364 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: eBookPartnership.com (21 Feb 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BJOS364
- Source: Review copy from the author