The light spilling in from the corridor would have to do. Though weak, it was sufficient to show Aldís a boy sitting in the gloom at the farthest table. He had his back to her, so she couldn't see who it was but could tell that he was one of the youngest.
A chill ran down her spine when he spoke again without turning, as if he had eyes in the back of his head. 'Go away. Leave me alone.'
'Come on. You shouldn't be here.' Aldís spoke gently, fairly sure now that the boy must be delirious. Confused rather than dangerous. He turned, slowly and deliberately, and she glimpsed black eyes in a pale face. 'I wasn't talking to you.'
Aldis is working in a juvenile detention centre in rural Iceland. She witnesses something deeply disturbing in the middle of the night; soon afterwards two of the boys at the centre are dead.
Decades later single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the centre following the unexplained death of the colleague who was previously running the investigation. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?
Yrsa Sigurdardottir is a huge European best seller with both her crime and her horror novels. You might want to sleep with the light on after listening to The Undesired.
2 narrators. the female was great, the male not so much. very monotone which made ut gard to concentrate.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you are familiar with the author's Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series you will know that she seems to struggle to know where to pitch her books.From the grisly murder of her first book, Last Rituals, to the Scooby Doo farce of her second, My Soul To Take, up to what was, even for gloomy Icelandic Noir, a seriously depressing scenario in the the most recent in the series, The Silence Of The Sea. This stand alone follows on with the depressing note right from the start, which paradoxically is 'The End'. That may seem an odd way to start a book but it is meant to be that way. The problem that gives is that you don't have to go very far into the book proper to figure out how it is all going to come together.
The book jumps back and forward between two scenarios and eras. A repressive children's home/correction centre in the 1970s through the eyes of a young female working there, narrated by Karen Cass, and a contemporary investigation into events that took place at the home in the 70s narrated by Nick Underwood. The male character in the modern section has just lost his ex-wife in an accident and has taken on the care of the young daughter he barely knows.
As someone who hates to see children being menaced in any format I found both parts of the book equally depressing and disturbing. I find it strange that someone who is a mother and who also writes children's books, would keep delving into that situation as the author does. I have now read/listened to all her adult fiction and with each one I have said it will be my last. This time it will be.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
I,vet been waiting quite some time for the English translation to come on board. Well worth the wait. A brilliant writer and well read. Story is engrossing, scary and original. Lots of suspense. Hopefully her other books will be with audible soon?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Had to return , nothing happened in the first chapters o listened to....it just went on and on. Narration was good. Book was NOT.
Any additional comments?
Problem children are treated like feudal serfs on a remote farm. A baby is born and disappears. A lonely young girl fantasizes about a bright future as she washes clothes and scrubs floors in harsh winter conditions. A woman sings in the stillness of the forest at night. And then - in the darkness, the single terrible event which will ruin lives and destroy futures. Years later, an unexplained death and an open window shed light on past misdeeds, and someone's voice is clamoring for justice or vengeance. It doesn't seem to be the voice of a living person, however.
As I listened, I found myself speculating whether the book's characters inhabited the realm of the supernatural or were simply experiencing good old fashioned wickedness + overactive imaginations. Either way, this author really knows how to ratchet up the suspense and then.....ratchet it up a little more. As soon as I finished it, I ordered another by the same author.
Only criticism is that the male narrator simply read the story, and r-a-t-h-e-r s-l-o-w-l-y at that, rather than taking on the parts of characters in any kind of lively and engaging way. Some might find his style soothing, though.
The story was OK. I struggled to get into it really and found it difficult to get any real depth from the characters.
By the time the story was finished I was enjoying it and keen to listen to the end. I'm pleased I did.
Narration was good and well paced.
Can't help feel that lots of richness has been lost in translation.
Overall it was decent enough without being brilliant.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful