I discovered Jo Nesbø by chance. I was on holiday in Bali and out of books.
So I went to a bookshop without any specific ideas about what to look after.
I began screening the shelves, looking for a name or a tittle that will inspire me.
And then I saw a name that looked familiar to me: “Jo Nesbø”. With a name like this, chances were big that he was a Norwegian author. So I read the summary at the back of the book and bought it without any hesitation. It was a crime book taking place in Oslo, called “Nemesis”.
I was captivated and couldn’t stop reading.
I discovered that it wasn’t the first book of the Harry Hole series. Even if each book can be read independently as the case is closed at the end, it was a shame to already know what was going to happen in Harry Hole’s life.
Things became more complicated for me from this point…
I prefer to read books in the language of the author, as I’m always a bit disappointed with the translation.
Obviously, I read French books in French.
But since Harry Potter, I also read English books in English. It’s a very good way to build vocabulary.
And since Harry Hole, I read Norwegian books in Norwegian. The only problem is that, even if I’m half Norwegian, I’m far from being fluent. My parents divorced when I was very young and my father learnt French to communicate with me, which I’m very grateful as French is such as difficult language. But it didn’t help me to learn Norwegian! So in my early twenties, I decided to go to Norway for one year to master the language. Well, … I left after 3 months because the weather was too depressing but I stayed enough time to be able to handle a proper conversation (with my terrible French accent). From here, I had to at least maintain my level. And when I discovered the Harry Hole series, I thought it was the occasion to begin to read Norwegian books in Norwegian.
To be honest, it took me a while to finish the first book, as I had to look for almost every word in a dictionary. And at the end of it, I almost didn’t remember the beginning!!!
But it didn’t spoil my motivation. The second book was also hard to read but took me less time. The third and the fourth where a bit better. But it’s only after the fifth book (which I finished a few weeks ago), that I could say that I could read in Norwegian. I can’t explain it, but it suddenly clicked. And when it clicked, you’re super proud of what you achieved.
I still have some books to read but I take my time. Like all the good things, I don’t want to finish them too quickly. I’ll buy the next book next time I go to Norway, as I’ve a ritual to begin all of them in Oslo. There is no better place…
The Harry Hole series is made of 10 books. Most of the stories take place in Oslo but he also travels to Australia, Thailande, Croatia….
Find bellow the description of Harry Hole from Jo Nesbø’s official website:
“The key to Jo Nesbø’s international success, at least in part, lies in his highly original, yet utterly believable protagonist, Detective Harry Hole. A cult figure already after the first book, Hole is a genuine anti-hero; an impossible character yet impossible not to like. According to his superiors, Harry is both the most competent detective of the Oslo Police and the worst civil servant. A periodic binge drinker seriously opposed to any type of authority, Hole roams the streets of Oslo like a lone ranger, doling out justice his way. At times suspended and generally considered a nuisance by his employers, Harry is nevertheless in some sense revered by his colleagues, for he is a good cop whose high moral standards and pronounced sense of justice often lead him in the right direction. In his personal life, however, his famous ‘inner compass’ seems to have broken down completely”. His family is distroyed, he has very few close friends and his love life is chaotic.
So if you haven’t read a Jo Nesbø novel yet, go to your bookseller as soon as possible and buy « The Cockroaches » for an imminent departure to Australia.
For more information about Jo Nesbø and Harry Hole: http://jonesbo.com/en/