Through Jungersen’s razor-sharp insight
into the female psyche we share its painful experiences in an oppressively
genuine way... Jungersen certainly knows how to describe the perceptions
of the opposite sex. But he also has a social agenda, which he
relentlessly and intelligently ties into the fate of his characters.
The Danish author Christian Jungersen keeps
changing point of view as he tells his psychological thriller.
As the harassment carousel turns faster and faster, the reader
follows the thoughts of each of the four “women from next door,” one
after another. The picture that Jungersen paints of the life and
action of each person seems natural and incredibly realistic. An
unstated hunch turns into a fullblown suspicion, a sideways glance
becomes an attack that necessitates a response...
The search for the true sender of the death threat and the desire
to unravel the entanglements grip the reader until the very last
of the 666 pages. And it’s guaranteed to make you look at your
colleagues at the office with completely different eyes!
Christian Jungersen describes with incredible
precision and empathy what harassment does to the victim, how spirit,
soul, and body are damaged by it, and how hard it is to free oneself
from the role of the victim. But Jungersen takes on not only the
role of the victim, but also that of the perpetrator. He alternates
the narrative from the point of view of Iben, Malene, Anne-Lise,
and Camilla, and with each shift in perspective the reader is forced
to revise his opinion of what has happened. These shifts in perspective
are absolutely convincing. After each chapter one thinks like the
current protagonist and suspects the other three. It is shocking
to see how quickly one begins to suspect the worst of everything
and everyone. Using this modern version of the unreliable narrator,
Jungersen manages to involve the reader both intellectually and
emotionally. This makes the book so gripping and suspenseful that
it’s impossible to put it
down until the very last page.
... One thing is sure: The Exception deserves all the prizes it has
won and many more!
Christian Jungersen very intelligently describes
how a conflict starts small, how envy and mistrust smolder in the
subconscious, and how it often takes only a spark to ignite a wildfire.
The Exception tells the story of a group of peaceful women who
get involved in harassment shenanigans and then self-righteously
try to place the blame on others. We learn about men who go off
to war and kill their neighbors, and we read about the brutal mass
murderer Mirko. He was previously a real ladies’ man, but
as a soldier he tortured and eventually killed his female cousin.
The ominous message: Every human being harbors different identities
inside, and quite often we know nothing about our secret selves.
Jungersen masterfully deals with the dark sides of the psyche and
shows us how insidiously the act of exclusion functions. A page-turner
about the banality of evil.
This book is a splendid study of the abysses inside every human
being... I promise you exciting and nail-biting hours with this sensational
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In almost 700 pages he depicts the day-to-day life of a basically
normal office, yet at the same time he presents an exciting thriller
which also intelligently addresses up the question of the origin
Sharp as a knife, Christian Jungersen’s novel describes the
psychology of evil – the distrust, the strategy, and the fear
of death in this quartet of heroines.
Imperceptibly, people who are imbued with ethics
and morals gradually become transformed into a mob bent on the psychic
destruction of the enemy, striving even to “cleanse” the
office of an outsider.
With sociological and psychological accuracy the Danish author Christian Jungersen
describes in The Exception how harassment originates. In the process his novel
probes the abysses of human personality. The staff of a center, whose purpose
is to uncover crimes against humanity in the outside world, end up finding evil
in themselves. What was previously only theory becomes transformed into practical
experience for them; and only then can each of them discover whether she, like
almost everyone, is capable of evil – or whether she’s the exception.
... Thus the boundaries between good and evil are blurred in Jungersen’s
story, in which a breathtaking drama develops out of everyday events. Although
the story does not lack in surface charm – the finale cries out to be a
movie – it touches on the great depths that reside in every human being.
Jungersen writes from the alternating perspectives of those involved and permits
no final certainties. It is a major achievement that he succeeds in this without
denouncing ethics and morality.
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