Book Review – Three Days in September by Luna Miller

New Swedish crime writer Luna Miller’s debut novella translated. A contemporary adult relationship drama. The desires, dreams and fears of six lives collide when a stranger comes to town. Are they willing to face their fears to chase their dreams or will they fall victim to desire?
With the best intentions in the world, streetwise, charmer Gabriel plans to lock himself away from temptations and get down to some serious art work in the house by the sea. But when fate sends him to a primitive cottage in the northern woods, he determines to make the most of this far-less-inspiring backwater.
However, remote Ludvika turns out to offer anything but peace and solitude. Gabriel soon becomes embroiled in a chain of events affecting the lives of almost everyone he encounters. Unlikely friendships, loyalty, love and hope intertwine with sex, violence and tragedy over three days in September that leave no one untouched.

My Review

This slim novel by a Scandinavian author is a jewel.  A slight jewel which could do with a bit more polishing perhaps but still a thing to be admired.  It tells the story of four young modern women in a rather remote claustrophobic little town and their various entanglements with local and not so local men.  It is not quite scandi noir so I was initially a bit disappointed but its undertones are certainly dark enough to please me. 

It’s horribly honest about the way women think and the lies they live with in relationships.  Sometimes I found its surgical exploration of the women’s relationships almost too much to bear and when the author talked about their sexual encounters with a frankness that only a Scandinavian could get away with I found myself cringing inside. I think this must have been what the author intended and it certainly wasn’t erotic. 

Its one of those books that takes up different perspectives and tells the same events from different perspectives. Sometimes this is a bit heavy handed but it makes its points well.  Once I got into the swing of it I found it amusing to see how differently men and women in particular might interpret the same events.

It’s tightly written but some of the phrasing gives away that the author’s first language isn’t English and a bit more editing would have been helpful.  Perhaps in the author’s language it’s OK to keep switching tense but in English that doesn’t read well.  I could forgive this though.

The least “noir” thing about the book was the friendships between the women.  They aren’t perfect but they look out for each other.  This gives the book a warmth which carries the reader but it is pretty mercilessly undercut at the end.

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