“Naïve. Super” is undoubtedly the most famous book by Erlend Loe, a Norwegian writer, film critic and screenwriter. The novel is written on behalf of a young man in his mid-twenties, experiencing “midlife crisis”. The book is translated into a dozen languages and met by readers with enthusiasm. Though, the novel got numerous negative feedbacks together with admiring reviews. What is so controversial in this work?
Before you start reading “Naïve. Super” try to focus on the thought that this novel is similar to a good self-contained, primitive, “naive” painting – at first glance simple and funny. Look deeper and you will definitely notice clever and touching details with a total apparent simplicity, “painted” accurately and skillfully. This attitude will help you to actually enjoy the book without searching its drawbacks.
The reader will be pleasantly amazed with author’s ability to talk about exactly what we think about sometimes, though we say to everybody that we are thinking about different things. Erlend Loe is extremely honest amazingly good-natured.
Don’t be surprised when reading about eccentric thoughts and “problems” of the main hero. Such “childish” thinking is rather typical for Norwegian. But do not rush to consider him mentally retarded – there are far more right attitudes and decisions in his behavior than in wise advices sent by his “adult” friend, like “go somewhere” or “make friends with new people.” The main hero has a wonderful ability to be surprised, to see the world through the spontaneity, without adult problems.
If dig deeper, you can see a “how to use naivety” instruction: it is clear in which situations it is good, and when it just spoils everything. Thanks to naivety, the hero meets a girl who likes his curiosity and innocence. However, a letter sent to the author of the book that he has read, will remain unanswered: to understand serious books and do not ask stupid questions, he still will have to grow up.
You will not find an unexpected end or answers to every question. The following quotation is summing up the novel to some extend: “I still don’t know if things fit together, or if everything will be all right in the end. But I believe that something means something. I believe in cleansing the soul through fun and games. I also believe in love. And I have several good friends, and just one bad one.”
The best qualities of “Naïve. Super” are its sincerity and frankness. Besides, this book has a strange “habit” to be found by people at the right time of their life to generously share love of life and warmth. The novel is ideal, but not for gourmets and library bookworms, not for devoted fans of philosophical treatises and risky adventures of the mind. It is perfect for a cold evening spent on the couch with a blanket and sweet tea or for a few hours on a plane or train. The book requires light, naive and open-hearted attitude – no more and no less. Erlend Loe will gently remind his readers that a child lives in each of us, and it’s nice to let him play in the real world sometimes, just to get a better feeling and taste of life.
About the author: The review is presented by Sarah Hall. Sarah likes reading books, blogging and sharing her experience with other people. The wide range of interest helps her to create articles on different topics. Find more information about Sarah on Google+. Other articles by this author can be also found shiny essays .