The Shadow Girls

The Shadow Girls

eBook - 2012
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Jesper Humlin is a poet of middling acclaim who is saddled by his underwhelming book sales, an exasperated girlfriend, a demanding mother, and a rapidly fading tan. His boy-wonder stockbroker has squandered Humlin's investments, and his editor, who says he must write a crime novel to survive, begins to pitch and promote the nonexistent book despite Humlin's emphatic refusals. Then, when he travels to Gothenburg to give a reading, he finds himself thrust into an entirely different world, where names shift, stories overlap, and histories are both deeply secret and in profound need of retelling. Leyla from Iran, Tanya from Russia, and Tea-Bag, who is from Africa but claims to be from Kurdistan (because Kurds might receive preferential treatment as refugees) these are the shadow girls who become Humlin's unlikely pupils in impromptu writing workshops. Though he had imagined their stories as fodder for his own book, soon their intertwining lives require him to play a much different role.
Publisher: New York : New Press, 2012
ISBN: 9781595588449
Branch Call Number: PT9876.23.A49 T4313 2012x
Characteristics: 1 downloadable text file
Additional Contributors: Segerberg, Ebba


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Jan 13, 2014

The story-line is of three girls - illegals or immigrants living in isolation (or under the radar) in Sweden - who join a writing workshop in order to tell their story. Their story unfolds in drips and drabs and this part is interesting. What I did not really understand was the intertwining of the girls story with the vacuous or vapid lives of the Swedish characters. Perhaps it was to show a marked contrast with the refugees : from superficial to complex ? Well come on! And, although it had some funny parts, this book was frustrating in that the story never seemed to go anywhere. Nothing really gets resolved. As one critique said: "Even when the main character tried to do the "right" thing by the refugees, he did it in a mindless, meaningless way." I think this would be a great book to read in a book club because it will give rise to debate.


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