Author: Erlend Loe
First published January 1, 1996
224 pages, Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9789515789631 (ISBN10: 951578963X)
“I have two friends. One bad and one good.
And then there’s my brother. He may not be as charming as I am, but he’s still okay.” This is the start of Erlend Loe’s breakthrough novel, the award-winning Supernaiivi, which has garnered widespread international attention.
The 25-year-old protagonist is faced with a deep personal crisis. Everything feels meaningless.
However, he doesn’t remain idle but begins to solve his problems. He reflects on things he struggles with and things he doesn’t.
Erlend Loe writes hilariously, shedding new light on life’s central questions and offering readers a liberating laugh.
About the Author
Meet Erlend Loe – a talented Norwegian novelist who has made a name for himself in the literary world. Before making his mark as an author, Loe worked at a psychiatric clinic and was also a freelance journalist for the local paper, Adresseavisen.
These days, he calls Oslo home and is the co-founder of Screenwriters Oslo – a community of like-minded screenwriters.
In 1993, Loe’s debut book, Tatt av kvinnen, hit the shelves and was followed by a children’s book called Fisken, which tells the tale of a forklift operator named Kurt. Loe’s writing style is unique and often compared to naïve art.
He’s known for his use of irony, exaggeration, and humor, all of which make his work stand out from the crowd.
Supernaiivi by Erlend Loe is a striking novel that explores the themes of identity, mental health, and the search for meaning in life. Loe is a Norwegian author known for his dark humor and minimalist style, and this book is a prime example of his unique voice.
The book revolves around the life of an unnamed young man who feels lost and disillusioned with the world. After dropping out of school, he embarks on a journey to find himself, taking him to various places and situations, both funny and poignant.
Along the way, he meets a cast of colorful characters, including a dog named Brun, who becomes his loyal companion. Loe’s writing style is spare yet lyrical, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that perfectly captures the protagonist’s emotions.
The novel is also rich in metaphors and symbolism, inviting the reader to interpret and reflect on the deeper meanings concealed beneath the surface. One of the strengths of Supernaiivi is its characterization.
The protagonist is a complex and relatable character, struggling with inner demons and existential questions that many young people face. His interactions with other characters, including his estranged family members and a peculiar cult, reveal different facets of his personality and add to his development.
The supporting cast is also memorable, ranging from quirky to tragic, but all leaving a lasting impression. The book’s pacing is deliberate, reflecting the protagonist’s meandering journey, but it also stays engaging thanks to Loe’s clever use of humor and suspense.
The plot structure is non-linear, with flashbacks and flash-forwards that give insight into the protagonist’s past and future. Supernaiivi can be seen as a commentary on modern society and its impact on young people’s mental health.
The book deftly explores the themes of alienation, consumerism, and conformity, without being preachy or heavy-handed. Instead, Loe offers a subtle and thought-provoking critique that resonates with the current cultural climate.
One minor flaw of the book is that some readers may find the protagonist’s behavior and decisions frustrating or unrealistic. He can be passive and self-destructive at times, and some of his actions may seem random or pointless.
However, this flaw can also be viewed as a deliberate choice by Loe to portray the protagonist’s state of mind accurately. Overall, I highly recommend Supernaiivi to anyone who enjoys literary fiction that challenges and inspires.
This book is suitable for both young adults and adults and can appeal to readers who appreciate surrealism, coming-of-age stories, and social commentary. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 rating based on its originality, writing quality, character development, and relevance.