cover image I Can See in the Dark

I Can See in the Dark

Karin Fossum, trans. from the Norwegian by James Anderson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-544-11442-5

Riktor, the narrator of this first-rate novel of suspense from Fossum (Broken), works in a nursing home in a small Norwegian town. In almost affectless prose, he describes his circumscribed life, both at the hospital and in his local park, where he observes Miranda, a wheelchair-bound girl; Miranda’s mother; teenage lovers Eddie and Janne; and town drunk Arnfinn. One day, he watches a cross-country skier fall through the ice of a nearby lake, then thrash around helplessly before sinking to his death. Riktor is filled with scorn and a quiet rage, which eventually grows to the point where he begins to abuse his elderly patients. The initially predictable plot takes an unexpected turn after Riktor is arrested for the death of Nelly Friis, one of his patients. “What a wasteland this world is,” the unlikable Riktor muses at one point in this bleak but clever and compelling standalone. (Aug.)