‘Exile’, J. Ejersbo

‘Exile’. The title sounded promising. The Africa trilogy. The series sounded promising. Jakob Ejersbo. No prejudice either way towards Danish writers.

That was before. I am now quite eager *not* to pick anything written by Ejersbo up ever again (unless I wish to prepare my mind for a collapse).

Why I chose this book of all the books out there can be summed up as follows: I saw it on Amazon. Recently, having read brilliant books about Africa I entertained the hope that this would be similar in… maybe if not tone, because it seemed more personal than any of the other Africa books thus far, but at least somehow relevant. And no, I do not even understand how Mr Ejersbo managed to destroy what could have been a good book into a horrifying work.

I guess that a lot of this has to do with the fact that trying to find a sentence which has more than six words in it is relatively difficult. Probably finding one with over eight would be impossible… So we’re left to navigate a dreadful school in the eyes of a teenager (teenagers) drinking and indulging themselves in every way, and the tool for this is a sentence that builds on the variation of “I walked up a hill.”

Does not sound all that bad, you might be thinking?

Well, it is. The simplicity is not in any way elegant (indeed, for some writers have managed to write in a simple yet elegant way that is soothing and harmonious), so I am left to wonder if Mr Ejersbo never thought of using a complex sentence because he did not envision a person with more than eight years of life reading it.

So, truly, I would say, by no means is this book something I would recommend to people as long as we can read far more elegant and better writers. And if a person has an interest in Danish literature, there is probably something more advanced than this. If not, Norwegian and Swedish are rather close and there certainly are brilliant books written in those lands.

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