Jungersen masterfully juxtaposes the merciless
harassment of Anne-Lise – the
scheming, petty cruelties to which she is subjected – with
the insightful articles that those who are harassing her are at the
same time writing about big-time perpetrators of genocide and their
The book, in a natural and fascinating way, also interweaves information
about the violent scope and tragic results of genocidal actions over
the past hundred years, incoporating an undercurrent of bemused self-irony
over Danish good will, the mysterious machinations of bureaucracy,
and the jockeying for human rights funding. The Exception has much
more to offer than a typical thriller.
The Danish author Christian Jungersen has garnered
several prizes for his second novel, The Exception. You don’t
need to read many pages of this psychological thriller to realize
that they are well-deserved. It is suspenseful, carefully constructed,
elegantly told, and makes us think about big, unpleasant topics.
What brings out the evil in us – and what brings out the good?
And is goodness or evil the exception? Jungersen addresses these
big, difficult questions. He doesn’t give easy answers, but
paves the way for several different ones. The author introduces a
number of social-psychological theories and discreetly tests them
out through his plot. In this way he mixes research and facts with
fiction, effortlessly drawing the reader into various thought processes.
At the same time the book is suspenseful, so suspenseful that it
is hard to put down.
The author’s style is effective and elegant. It emphasizes
that not everything is as it seems, amplifying the tension. The language
is strong, naked and precise.
This is a novel that is suspenseful, challenging,
and wise — and
so well written that the 670 pages just fly past... It is no exaggeration
to assume that this will be one of the most-read books this spring.
Christian Jungersen has written a close to perfect thriller, with
believable characters, a plot that adds up perfectly, and a storytelling
ability that strongly enhances the reading experience.
Events are first described through Iben’s eyes, then Malene’s,
then Anne-Lise’s, etc. Some places this is done with amazing
succes …. By humanizing both the harassers and the victim
the author makes it impossible for the reader to demonize any of
those involved. The entire story becomes humanized.
The high sales figures are definitely well deserved. In the best
sections, especially when Anne-Lise is speaking, the book is deeply
moving and powerful. Because the story is told from the different
points of view, it achieves both depth and credibility in its description
of human relations.
Slowly but surely the author paints the picture of an office marked
by strong personal antagonisms, harassment, and freeze-outs... The
paranoid mood in and around the workplace of these four women soars
as the author uncovers more and more layers of the complex psyches
of those involved... A contemporary thriller that offers both depth
The Exception is definitely no traditional crime
novel, despite some criminal elements. It is an accomplished psychological
thriller about genocide around the world both past and present, and
about harassment in a Danish workplace today. Jungersen’s great
achievement is that he manages to demonstrate that the driving forces
behind both genocide and harassment are frighteningly similar, a
sort of psychology of evil.
Another convincing feature of the author’s writing skill is
that his central characters are four women,
who are depicted with great sensitivity.
Norway - Unntaket