Written by: Jan Wallentin
Strindberg’s Star is the first book from Swedish author Jan Wallentin. It’s been an international bestseller and now comes to the US in a translation by Rachel Wilson-Broyles. The plot centers on an expert of religious symbols and Nazi history, and also ex-psychologist and current prescription pill addict, Don Titelman who is asked by a cave diver to come out to his remote cabin to examine some odd things he found in a dive where a dead body was also found. Upon his arrival he finds the diver dead. From there the plot has Don and his lawyer Eva exploring the world on the run from a secret society and uncovering long hidden secrets of history including norse mythology and Nazi’s. The book is very Dan Brown-ish with some shades of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo thrown in.
I was pretty excited to dig into this 447 page behemoth of a novel. I’m not one to balk at a mainstream bestseller. They’re usually good all purpose reading. But unfortunately I started feeling regrets around the 100th page when the plot still hadn’t progressed beyond the basic laying out of the story and introduction of characters that’s given on the back cover. That’s a lot to read to not even be really “into” the story yet. And it didn’t really seem to have a reason to be so slow. I know you can often make the same complaint with some of Stephen King’s more epic works, but his slow prodding is often to set a mood and really immerse you in a world. Here I just felt like I wanted things to move a lot faster.
After the slow start things don’t get much better. All around the book is fairly slow and when it’s not it’s fairly predictable. I also don’t know who is to blame for this, the actual author or the translation to English, but I wasn’t crazy about the writing.
It wasn’t entirely bad though, I did enjoy the historical stuff. The looks back at historic events were always interesting and by far the best parts of the book.
Overall I don’t recommend Strindberg’s Star, but if you’re a big fan of Dan Brown and his type of storytelling, then you might enjoy it and find it will kill some time until the next one.
Strindberg’s Star is now available wherever books are sold.