The Glitter Scene

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The Glitter Scene

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fagerholm's dense thriller demands second reading—if only to fill in the holes and put together the scattered pieces of her puzzle. In 2004, sensitive teenage Johanna lives with her aunt Solveig in a marshy seaside Finnish town still marked by the tragic events of Fagerholm's previous novel, The American Girl (a visiting girl's suspicious death, one lover's suicide, another's disillusionment). After Johanna digs into her family's connection to the tragedy, she learns the complicated history that led to the event, and the novel dips 15 years back to find Susette Packlén and Maj-Gun Maalamaa, two girls brought together by loss. They have a fraught friendship and a temporal connection to the American girl's death; this section (coyly subtitled "An entirely different story, or maybe not?") tracks the dangerous ripples that reverberate from acts of terror and love. Finally, Fagerholm returns to the original crime (and others) with an epilogue that provides some (not all) of the answers readers have been waiting for. These haunted characters reveal the effects of a tragedy on a small community. While the opaque stream-of-consciousness prose and bleak Scandinavian imagery can create inertia, the conclusion of The American Girl narrative will delight fans of the series. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
“A dreamy, creepy, swirling of prose that eventually uncovers a story of love and violence in a coastal Finnish community.” —Shelf Awareness

“The conclusion of The American Girl narrative will delight fans of the series.” —Publishers Weekly

“Complex and interesting.” —Booklist

“Out of The American Girl’s elusive mysteries of time and creepy teenagers-in-trouble, Fagerholm triumphs with its sequel, The Glitter Scene, mining the not-quite-real or the too real evidence of sorrow that we forget we live by.”—Terese Svoboda, author of Bohemian Girl

The Glitter Scene balances on the ice-cold tones of David Lynch and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice . . . a remarkable story of guilt, revenge, and betrayal. A beautiful novel where the distance between blissful fantasy and grim reality is never very far.” —Smålands Posten

“With the same inimitable style as in the previous novel, Monika Fagerholm opens up a dizzying world full of secrets . . . It is intense and compelling.” —Västra Nyland

Library Journal
First, Sweden gave us Stieg Larsson's girls who did things, and now it has sent us Fagerholm, whose previous novel, The American Girl, was a best seller and multiple prize winner there. Her new novel has murders and mysteries, but don't expect a tight—or even coherent—story line. Fagerholm's technique is to circle around a plot development, repeating incidents and phrases like taglines, incrementally adding small bits of information. The narrative is carried along in the mulling voices of several quirky, unlikable characters who live in the cryptically unnamed District on a marshy seacoast, evidently in the author's native Finland. One character may be a writer—it's hard to know for sure—but at one point she says her editor suggests that she "use self-pity productively, carry it to the extreme," which is an apt description of how Fagerholm approaches character and plot. VERDICT For those who like to puzzle over a challenging narrative. Most readers will find the novel almost incomprehensible, and as it is a sequel to The American Girl, one's only hope of understanding is to read them both.—Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590513057
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/9/2011
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 1.43 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This convoluted complicated Finnish murder mystery grips fans of cerebral thrillers

    In 2004 in the District section on the First Cape lives teenager Johanna and her Aunt Solveig who earns a living as a realtor. Joanna misses her cousin Robin who she used to play with until the latter's mom took her with her when they moved. She spends time with classmate Ulla Backstrom, who tells her the tragic tale of The American Girl in the 1970s.

    Fascinated in a macabre way Johanna investigates the decades old deaths with an emphasis on their connection to her family especially her parents. She wants to know who her mother is and why secrets were interred with her late father. Almost two decades after the tragedy that haunts the villagers, fifteen years ago before Johanna begins to tie the sad tale together in ways that stun her, Susette Packlen and Maj Gun Maalamaa become friends of sorts by their connection to the American Girl.

    This convoluted complicated Finnish murder mystery grips fans of cerebral thrillers as the story line is not linear, but in fact a series of circles sort of like a Venn diagram that has the audience entering rings from different external points while like the prime protagonist try to connect to dots. The cast is moody which adds to the gloom and doom of the District as readers will not guess where Monika Fagerholm takes us in the aptly tidied The Glitter Scene.

    Harriet Klausner

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