Nemesis

nemesis-jo-nesboNemesis/Sorgenfri is a psychological thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. It is the fourth book in the English translation of Nesbø’s Harry Hole series which chronicles the cases and life of the Oslo, Norway detective. Nemesis main plot involves a string of heists pulled off by a particularly intelligent and cruel bank robber. The subplot continues Harry’s search for a drug lord and killer of his former colleague, and his current search to find the murderer of an old lover. As usual, Nemesis features Nesbø’s intriguing plot twists, poetic storytelling and keen psychological insight.

Divine Retribution

Taking its name from the Greek goddess, Nemesis shows what happens  when justice, vengeance, and retaliation become all-consuming. The characters find themselves the targets of revenge, the initiators of it, or both, in a complex web of ultimate payback.

How far would the average person go to right the wrongs they feel have been done to them and their loved ones? How far would you go? These questions and more are put up for discussion in Nemesis and the answers aren’t quite what you’d expect.

Familial Ties

In Nemesis familial ties are at the forefront, though it may not be clear to the characters themselves. The characters’ actions are in part motivated by the wish to be close to their family, whether this is family created by blood and DNA or a family forged by years of close relationship, and whether this closeness is physical or psychological. Nemesis illustrates the lengths people can go to keep together the pieces of what they believe to be their family and home base — or at least the image of it.

Good or Bad?…Neither

Jo Nesbø specializes in creating the most horrific criminals yet he has the rare gift of showing these criminals’ unmistakably human side. Nemesis shows this skill at its best — the “bad guys” in the novel are relatable and sympathetic; it’s not difficult to understand the motives behind the actions they take. Meanwhile, the darker sides of those who would otherwise be seen as the heroes and do-gooders of society are brought to light.

By the end of the novel one is left wondering who is really the bad guy and who is the good guy, and if good and bad truly exist or if they’re simply flawed man-made labels imposed on the indescribable. In Nemesis, as in life, the lines between good and evil aren’t so clear.

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13 thoughts on “Nemesis

  1. Froggie,

    Lol, I mean, of course you would think of that.

    It’s Norwegian and actually pronounced more like Heu-ler. 😉

  2. LOL! And how do they pronounce Harry I wonder? More like Hairy maybe? 😉

    I have a friend who is trying to get me to read Jo Nesbo. I’m putting it off because I’m afraid they will be too violent for me. So far she has lent me The Redbreast and The Redeemer and they’re both sitting on my shelf. Any advice which I should start with?

  3. Froggie, exactly. 😉

    Hi Jenny,

    You’re right about the pronunciation of Harry. 😀

    Oh, you’re going to read Nesbo? He is a great author. Some of his stories take a good while to get into the real action of the story but you won’t be disappointed, especially with the earlier novels.

    His books can be a bit violent/graphic, but it’s nothing major, IMO. I’ve read more violent thrillers.

    I would recommend you read The Redbreast first for a couple of reasons:

    1. If you’re planning on reading the others in the series then its best to start from one of the first, if not the first in the series. You’ll feel like you walked in the middle of a movie if you read The Redeemer first.

    2. The Redbreast is one of the best in the series, along with Nemesis. They exemplify Nesbo’s writing style.

    I am reading The Redeemer now. Literally: the book is open next to me, while I type this. 🙂 It’s looking good so far, but I’ll you know when I finish if it’s worth a read or not.

  4. My husband recommends those books! I’ve never read them, but I trust his taste. My mother never wanted to read them because – get this – author’s name. God knows what she thought based on the name, but, ugh, I don’t want to know.

  5. Hi Mira, I haven’t seen you in a while!

    Your husband has good taste, of course. 🙂

    “My mother never wanted to read them because – get this – author’s name.”

    What’s wrong with the name? I get why people would think the main character’s name is weird, but the author’s…?

  6. My husband has a great taste in books!

    Don’t ask me what’s wrong with the name, but I suspect it might be my mother’s… eeh, not sure what it is, but I suspect the author doesn’t sound “cool” (as in, Western) enough and she doesn’t really like Eastern (including Eastern European) writers. I am not sure she’d realized the author is Scandinavian.

    Funny enough, since she doesn’t speak English, “Harry Hole” would seem like a perfectly normal name to her.

    I’ve been busy with various stuff, including http://robert-sheehan.net

  7. True, his name doesn’t sound very Western (as in, North American/English), but the ø is definitely Scandinavian.

    Has your husband read The Redeemer? If so, what does he think? Part of the background story is the Serbo-Croatian war.

    “I’ve been busy with various stuff, including http://robert-sheehan.net

    Wait…did you make this site?

    Oh yeah, happy belated birthday! 🙂 I know it’s really late at this point, but you haven’t been around lately.

  8. Hi,

    Thanks for the bday wishes! True, I haven’t been around lately.

    No, my husband didn’t read any of his books, but he knows they have very great reviews. The genre is really not my husband’s thing but he recommended them to me and my mother because he knows we are more into this genre.

    Not sure what is that my mother didn’t like about the author name. Or maybe that he’s Scandinavian? She has a stereotype that Scandinavians write/made depressing books or films.

    Ugh, Serbo-Croatian war? One big “DON’T WANNA KNOW”, to be honest.

    Wait…did you make this site?

    I didn’t make it originally but the previous owner gave it to me so now it’s mine to update, find news, add photos, etc.

    He has an upcoming film with Dev Patel and Zoe Kravitz (well, the shooting starts in July):
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/slumdog-millionare-actor-dev-patel-to-work-with-robert-sheehan-in-the-road-within/1124877/

  9. “Not sure what is that my mother didn’t like about the author name. Or maybe that he’s Scandinavian? She has a stereotype that Scandinavians write/made depressing books or films.”

    Ha, some do. Jo Nesbø’s books aren’t really depressing, but some of the violent scenes can get to those who are more touchy to those sort of things.

    “I didn’t make it originally but the previous owner gave it to me so now it’s mine to update, find news, add photos, etc.”

    Oh, okay. It looks great so far.

    He has an upcoming film with Dev Patel and Zoe Kravitz (well, the shooting starts in July)”

    It sounds really interesting!

  10. Ha, some do. Jo Nesbø’s books aren’t really depressing, but some of the violent scenes can get to those who are more touchy to those sort of things.

    Well, with books like those, it all depends on the mood. I am not always in the mood for something like that, but when I’m in the mood, I am totally into reading that stuff and I don’t particularly like if it’s watered down.

    It sounds really interesting!

    It does, plus there’s a bonus of black woman/white man interracial romance 😉

    But to be honest, I am not totally excited about it because it’s a remake of a critically acclaimed German movie and I just hate when Hollywood – even the indie authors like this one – remake European projects. It’s like a European project, even the critically acclaimed one, doesn’t worth a thing until is remade by Americans. /rant end.

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