Christian Jungersen's The Exception - USA

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USA - The Exception




The Exception was published in July 2007 by
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. It was named an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times, an Editors Pick by, a Best Books 2007 by Library Journal, and a 2007 Books We Liked Best by Christian Science Monitor.


The Exception is excellent on so many things: the texture of office life, the appalling inconsistencies and lacunas in our perceptions of our own characters, the way intelligent people use the insights of psychology not to deepen their self-awareness but to calumniate one another with more sophisticated accusations. But most of all, one comes away feeling there is a hugely empathetic imagination behind this novel, one that resists allowing us to fall into the simplifying judgments that are a necessary prelude to cruelty. Its characters seem deeply true to life in that they are not unitary, but a web of fluctuating motivations that combine good intentions, self-deception, generosity, selfishness and malice.
… This is a work of fiction, not a philosophical treatise. And by the end, The Exception manages to cash its check to the reader in full, doing so in a way that is thoroughly consistent with its bleak and sophisticated view of human nature.
New York Times


The Exception

Jungersen, in the five hundred pages of his strange, occasionally hectoring, and unfailingly compelling book, turns his office of choice into a discomfiting reflection of the world just outside its doors. … [The author] manages to inhabit the lives of these sensitive, neurotic, frightened, jealous, and sometimes vicious women, and he does so until the very last twist on the very last pages. This icy and affecting novel, with its juxtaposition of people trying to do good and yet behaving very badly toward each other, can certainly be read in many ways, but always with the vague unease that the privileged residents of Western liberal democracies feel about their comfortable lives.
New Yorker


Part psychological thriller, part a female version of “In the Company of Men,” The Exception brilliantly probes the self-justifications and callousness that allow evil a foothold in civilized societies. Grade: A
Christian Science Monitor


Jungersen's research into the psychology of evil is impressive and well-integrated, and The Exception is certainly gripping, leaving one guessing right to the spooky, satisfying end.
Austin American-Statesman


Jungersen's sharp, disturbing book reminds us that evil is everywhere, and while you can track it down, you can't stamp it out. Especially if it lives within you.
Denver Post


Little is what it seems in Christian Jungersen’s chilling English-language debut — a study-in-evil set in Copenhagen. A cunning and ultimately alarming novel … “The Exception” is frightening — but it is also an enormously worthwhile introduction to the work of Christian Jungersen.
The Buffalo News


The Exception is a brilliant study of conflict in the workplace, masterfully written.
Deseret Morning News


Jungersen's sharp, disturbing book reminds us that evil is everywhere, and while you can track it down, you can't stamp it out. Especially if it lives within you.
Cleveland Plain Dealer


A sinister Danish sibling to Joshua Ferris’ National Book Award–nominated office novel Then We Came to the End, Christian Jungersen’s The Exception provides a bleak and brilliant dissection of not only office life, but the seeds of human evil … Jungersen has written one of the few novels that will be enjoyed by fans of both John Grisham and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
LA Weekly


Some books you can read for a few minutes before you go to sleep. You can leave them at home when you go out. Then there's The Exception … Fortunately, The Exception, already an international best-seller, is as wonderfully creepy and suspenseful as it is nutritious …  The Exception is also, in its anatomization of everyday cruelty, artful, true, necessary and welcome.
Philadelphia City Paper


Reviewing this book is a delicate task, since to give so much as a single example is to risk spoiling the perversely delightful shocks that are embedded in its plot.
What makes these revelations so exquisite is the fact that they are not really revelations at all but rather things that you suspected were true all along (but hoped that they weren't).
… Anyone who has ever worked with others will immediately recognize the jockeying for position, the passive-aggressive behavior and escalating harassment … What is new is that Jungersen does not dismiss this behavior as simple office politics or female cattiness. In deft, believable touches he ratchets up the dread and draws a clear line from breaking a vase in a co-worker's office to Kristallnacht.
Aside from being a suspenseful page-turner, The Exception challenges our complacency and self-regard at every turn. We all wonder at times what we would do if we were faced with another Holocaust, a Rwanda right here on our shores. Jungersen's book can't answer that question, but it does make us ask it of ourselves. In his hands, the personal has never seemed more political, and redemption itself, while possible, is shot through with self-delusion.
Star Tribune


The author’s imagination of combining the office’s responsibilities with the interpersonal agendas within the office itself was a stroke of genius. … This is not a violent, explosive thriller; rather, expect a book that is psychologically focused full of paranoia and suspicion.
Wichita Eagle


(STARRED REVIEW) This eerie second novel by Jungersen and the first to be translated into English is so uncomfortably real for anyone who has worked in a small office that it is almost painful to keep reading. Yet it is also impossible to put this thriller down. Jungersen has written a narrative of such verisimilitude and ambiguity that one can believe in the inevitability of viciousness in everyone. His masterly examination of the everyday impulse toward evil and the psychology of women in closed situations makes this a winner. Essential for all fiction collections.
Library Journal


(STARRED REVIEW) The slow burn of office politics can be just as riveting as international intrigue, as shown in Jungersen's second novel, his first to be translated into English. …
     Can people fighting genocide display the same traits as war criminals? What does it mean to be evil? Jungersen explores these questions and others on a very personal level. A complex understanding of people turns what could have been pace-slowing conversations and reproductions of essays on genocide into fuel for a sometimes cruel but always intense page-turner.
Publishers Weekly


USA - The Exception


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