Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Camera by Eva-Marie Liffner

Strange yet uninspired.

Camera is sort of a mystery, sort of a suspense. Add a touch of literary fiction. The book has possibilities. Yet oddly enough the blurb on the back of the book gives away too much information. There is no real climax, no a-ha moment, no sense of resolution. I felt like I knew exactly what the plot was from page one and was waiting for some sort of surprise to tell me more. But the surprise never came. The outcome was exactly what the blurb on the back of the book said it would be.

Needless to say, the book revolves around cameras and photographers. Both the character in the present - an unhappy, antisocial woman who has inherited her uncle's estate - and the character in the past - a young Swedish photographer living in turn-of-the-century London - are photographers. Liffner has an interesting way of describing her scenes, often incorporating excruciating detail which is not always related to the plot. But her descriptions read like visual photographs. I don't know if that makes much sense, but I got the impression of a picture with the way she used her descriptive talents. In that regard alone, Camera was a remarkably fascinating book.

Camera is translated from the Swedish. I have not read many Swedish books but I know of a couple of other Swedish authors besides Liffner and I have this to say: The Swedish are dark people.

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