THE DARK TRUTH BEHIND THE NORDIC UTOPIA
“What is worse? Taking the life of a person who wants to live or taking death from a person who wants to die.”
The Nordic noir literature is one of a kind. You simply must love it because it has something that even American crime fiction hasn’t achieved till now. The permanent thrill and angst that make us being under adrenaline through the whole book. The Nordic crime fiction books aren’t cheap and populistic written but with one certain level of high understanding of human psychology, abnormal thinking and acting. The Nordic writer have one advantage in their books, they are inspired by reality of the society they live in, they are highly skilled in catching up the dark shadows of nordic mind, that could be sometimes very twisted.
I think I will read again the book of Jo Nesbo *The Snowman* because I failed to understand its whole meaning after reading it once. Maybe it is complicated for me and maybe it is just a matter of time when I will obtain that advanced comprehension of human psychology, psychopathy and sociopathy. The Norwegian Bob Dylan, former rock star, stockbroker and football player, Jo Nesbo made an international success with his amazing thriller *The Snowman* but that was just a beginning of rise of Scandinavian crime fictional wave. It was something dark about nordic thrillers, darker as we used to deal with. According to the critics, the Nordic noir literature is actually star because of the gruesome settings that could be our reality, or at least, could be the reality of nordic society.
Personally, I adore Norway and I would love to see Finland. Those lands are some kind of last sanctuary for me and my love for north. I believe that my own destiny is somehow related to the far away north where Aurora Borealis is the only light to wake up with and the last light we greet, before we fall asleep. I have never really understood people who complain that nordic countries are sinister in their happiness and bitter in their sweetness but I didn’t give up digging a bit more into the issue. How come that nordic writers have achieved that maestro story telling in their crime novels, leaving people with no breath, shocked and amazed ? It is not just a crime thriller, based on the successful imagination of the author, it is more than that. The Reality, something that could bite you and make you cry, scream and probably die. The Nordic noir comes into our homes and grab our attention, fear and ancient instinct for surviving. You may finish the book but the feeling of that book remain the part of you, like awaken demon of revenge or afraid dwarf of the primordial Homo sapiens.
The researchers have tried to look behind the scene of so called and celebrated nordic supermodel, just to find out that their reality is darker as we think and that they are coping with a big challenge to adapt to the global changes. If we analyse Denmark, we must say that is somehow controversial that Danes are considered to be one of the happiest people in the world but still among the first who get anti-depressive pills to get through the life. They have some working hours less as the rest of the world but higher private debt, economy in decreasing and the highest cancer rate on the international level. It seems that the country is falling apart and the Danes are enjoying their evening meal with glass of whine, great crime authors and deep tensions within Danish society. What about Sweden ? The journalist from Guardian has written the following and I must concur : “Effectively a one-party state – albeit supported by a couple of shadowy industrialist families – for much of the 20th century, “neutral” Sweden (one of the world largest arms exporters) continues to thrive economically thanks to its distinctive brand of totalitarian modernism, which curbs freedoms, suppresses dissent in the name of consensus, and seems hell-bent on severing the bonds between wife and husband, children and parents, and elderly on their children. Think of it as the China of the north.”Åke Daun in his interesting book *Swedish Mentality* concludes:“Swedes seem not to ‘feel as strongly’ as certain other people” Lets say that they manage to deal with their imperfections the best way they can but the ongoing process grind the problems under the surface and turn them into frustrations that are resulted with blood, murders, pain and generally the crime of the ideal novel. Iceland is still on the board as a strong viking and with not deviations as another nordic states but Finland is experiencing the silent depression that is tried to be cured with alcohol and drugs.
When we open the chapter about Norway, I must underline that this country I would, from my side, put on the top of all nordic societies because Norwegians are real and original vikings while others are successful copies. Maybe this is not political correct to say but I have never danced according to public rules. I am a free dancer so it is my writing too. If we hear what other nordic nations think of Norwegians, we would be very disappointed but I believe it is just a matter of typical neighbourhood disharmony and jealousy. You can’t say for them that they are insular and xenophobic only because they have right parties on the rise. In the last few years, lot of thing are gravitate in the wrong way on European political scene and the failure of muslim immigration can only empower the feeling of people to join the radicals instead of choosing the moderate direction. Saying for residents of Norway that they have money and Scrooge-like mentality is just an ignorant attempt to humiliate the value of Norwegian society and goals. They have been accused that they didn’t open their doors for refugees as much as the other lands did but I believe that Norwegians are rational, logical and informed. They do want to take care of their own children and their future before they adopt others and maybe those who do not want to integrate themselves but to force the host land to adapt to the rules of invaders. Some experts warn that Norwegians are asocial and oriented towards their own problems and interests. They have money and they can retire earlier and can enjoy their life to the fullest but some psychologists are sure it will cause a Dutch disease:“Dutch disease is an economic term for the negative consequences that can arise from a spike in the value of a nation’s currency. It is primarily associated with the new discovery or exploitation of a valuable natural resource and the unexpected repercussions that such a discovery can have on the overall economy of a nation.”
How can we blame them for enjoying their own resources, without exploiting others ? It is a fact that they have to make an environmental approach to this energy and rational use of it but labelling them as Scrooge-like people with no compassion is just a proof of lack of understanding and studying of this mentality. All the people who I ever met and who I know from Norway are exceptionally interested in wildlife conservation, environmental problems and the future of the Earth. They are also very friendly, communicative and opened for new ideas but still patriotic and in love with their own culture and I see definitely nothing wrong about it. From all nordic countries, I find Norwegian midnight sun to be the one that shines the best and its Aurora Borealis is one of the most mystical, over there. Nevertheless, the best crime fictional writer is exactly one Norwegian, that caught the midnight sun and turned it into the absolute darkness in his stories. His heroes are real heroes, who deal with corruption, human insecurity, passions and pure evil. They do not play the role, they are the role themselves. Why that kind of crime is happening in Norway or why is apparently imagined by then author? Norway has a big experience with mass murderers but also with serial killers. It is not a secret that compressed frustrations, hatred and polluted minds could be manifested through the worst crimes ever. In his international bestselling book *The Snowman* he is talking about the typical revenge and about disordered relations between parents and children ( the case of mother and son). There are many situations when women, like a mocking bird, set up the child to her man, that is actually not his but the child of her lover. The DNA test is the last thing on what the new fathers think at the moment when child is born but sometimes it is right decision, before the shadow of the crime is not darker, more dangerous and final.
The psychopathy of human mind is not located within one land or one society, it could be seed everywhere and from everyone. It is a disease that couldn’t be predicted so easy and it couldn’t be handled so simply because the people refuse to see the signs by the road and the refuse to prevent the chaos. We have to learn to recognise the anomalies, something what suddenly occurs and it doesn’t belong to one person or one society. Even if it comes oft, it is still anomaly and is in an introduction into the real horror, lighted up with midnight sun, forgotten but thrilled written in the book that sleeps with us.
One thought on “THE SNOWMAN SYNDROME: NORDIC NOIR, MIDNIGHT SUN AND CRIME”
Sarah’s intriguing article made me ponder the youth of the Norwegian author Jo Nesbø and why he wrote Snømannen (The Snowman, 2007)…
He was born in Oslo, Norway, but grew up in a remote part of the country, in Molde; a maritime locale with a temperate clime (i.e. relatively mild winters). It began as a Mediaeval trading post.
The appellation of the town seems to be associated with both fertile arable land and a topographical observation of hills that look like skulls (i.e. mold and moldr, from The Old Norse).
The film ‘Fargo’ (1996) has a similar setting (i.e. winter of a northern clime) and expresses the gruesomeness of murder, etc. Arguably, such films were seen by Jo Nesbø and influenced him (i.e. in the context of writing crime stories).