Uncertainty

Michael Larsen, Author, George Blecher, Translator, Lone Thygesen Blecher, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22 (272p) ISBN 978-0-15-100202-3
A bestseller in Denmark and Germany, this bleak Danish thriller lives up to its title right from page one, by offering the point of view of an unreliable narrator who washes down Dexedrine, Thorazine and other drugs with straight shots of whiskey. Cynical, mistrustful, technology-hating Martin Molberg, a Copenhagen newspaper reporter, is suspected by the police of having murdered his girlfriend, SAS flight attendant Monique Milazar. Martin, who's both innocent of the crime and in therapy for a ""minor nervous breakdown,"" begins his own search for the killer of the woman he loved. He has two clues: a piece of paper, found among Monique's effects, that lists a man's name and a room number at a swank L.A. hotel; and a picture of Monique having sex with a man in that room. Traveling to L.A., Martin meets another beautiful SAS flight attendant, Natasha Noiret, whom he believes may be using the same hotel room in which the photograph placed Monique. But matters aren't necessarily as they appear, and nothing and no one can be trusted in Larsen's illusion-filled world. At last, Molberg discovers the conspiracy behind his girlfriend's death, only to find himself trapped in a nightmare world infused with a cold and twisted spirit. Despite snappy translation and intense debate over the merits and drawbacks of technological progress, it's the metallic taste of paranoia that readers will carry away from Larsen's effective, vaguely repellent tale. 35,000 first printing; foreign rights sold in Brazil, England, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden; translation rights: Samleren Forlag. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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