cover image Broken


Karin Fossum, trans. from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-15-101366-1

In an odd departure from her Inspector Sejer series, Norwegian crime novelist Fossum (The Water's Edge) tells the story of a writer confronted by a character of her own creation. As the nameless female narrator explains, the characters for her future novels line up in her driveway in roughly the order she'll write their tales. One night, a man she names Alvar Eide—currently second in line—cuts to the front and demands his story be told. Fossum alternates between Eide's sedate life near Drammen, where he works in an art gallery, and his discussions with his "creator" about how certain events should play out. The first hint of tension appears in the form of an enigmatic 18-year-old girl, who comes into the gallery one winter afternoon and strikes up a conversation with Eide. Despite an intriguing concept, Fossum never fully sheds the artificiality of a writer writing about a writer writing. (Aug.)