Crime Novel Excerpts: He Who Fears the Wolf

From Karin Fossum’s He Who Fears the Wolf (2003) in the Inspector Sejer series, set in Norway.

“The murder of Halldis had brought them together like never before. Usually they were a divisive group, everybody fighting one another, each boy struggling for his own pathetic position in this tiny society of outsiders.”

“‘…those who are successful, the well-equipped, goal-oriented people who follow all the rules, who achieve their objectives without difficulty, who have perfect social skills, who navigate with the greatest ease, who get where they want to go, who acquire what they want to have — is there anything the least bit interesting about them? … All the interesting people in the world are losers,’ she said, ‘Or rather, those we call losers. Every type of deviation requires an element of rebellion….’

“‘Aren’t you one of those successful and goal-oriented people? Are you rebelling?’

“‘No,’ she admitted. ‘And I can’t understand it, because deep down I’m full of despair. … Aren’t you?’ She gave him a long look. ‘You can’t be an enlightened, intelligent, involved human being on this earth without being at the same time full of despair. It’s just not possible.'”

“The dog’s eyes gazed into his.

“‘You don’t know what I’m saying, do you? You live in another world, And yet we get along so well. Even though you’re a dunce.'”

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