Monday, August 29, 2011

Nothing by Janne Teller

It's easy to find a book about ghosts or monsters or vampires or zombies, but I find the scariest books to be the ones that about real people doing real things. The spookiest stories are the ones that you think could maybe happen in your neighborhood, to people you know. There is nothing supernatural in the book Nothing by Janne Teller. Yet it's one of the most chilling books I've read in a long time.

A young man announces in school one day that life has no meaning, that it's a series of random events that pile up until you die. He walks out of the classroom, climbs a tree, and refuses to come down. The idea that life has no meaning at all is upsetting to his classmates, so they set out to prove him wrong.

In a small shed outside of town they start a pile-up of the most meaningful things they can find. It starts out simple. A favorite book, a new pair of shoes. The bigger the pile grows the more desperate they become to find things of real meaning. Sacrifices are demanded, sacrifices are made. Cruelty is revealed.

This book is not for everyone, and it's not for the faint of heart. It's a short book that goes from a quiet parable to an upsetting mess. Quickly. I actually had to put it down a few times and walk away from it. But I always came back. I wouldn't say i enjoyed reading this book, but it for sure made me think. I read it over a year ago, and here I am writing about it still.

Like I said, not for everyone. Very dark, kind of upsetting. Makes you think.


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