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Broken by Karin Fossum, book reviewDeep in the stillness of a remote Norwegian forest, there stands a house with a view over a lake. A quiet queue of people stands at the door to the house, patiently waiting their turn. Old and young, male and female, in small groups or alone, everyone waits silently for the person in the house to answer their unspoken pleas. On the other side of the door there lives an author, a writer whose job it is to tell the tale of each person in the queue. Once a year she invites the next person in line to come into the house and have their story told by her. At the front of the queue tonight is a young woman with a dead baby in her arms, but as the author retires to bed wondering what the woman’s story will be, she is startled to hear the front door open and footsteps hesitantly mount the stairs. A man enters the author’s bedroom and stands at the foot of her bed. He is a socially awkward middle aged man who fears his tale might be too nondescript to tell, and he has jumped the queue to speak to the author directly. After some discussion, the author is drawn into naming this man – Alvar Eide – and to ignoring the young woman who waits outside in favour of writing Alvar’s story.

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