Beyond the Great Indoors - Ingvar Ambjornsen

Genre: Fiction/Comedy
Synopsis: Elling has a wildly overactive imagination and has been molly-coddled by his mother all his life, so when she dies he is left completely incapable of taking care of himself. After a stint in the very helpful Broynes Rehabilitation Centre, Elling returns to Oslo with his room-mate Kjell Bjarne in tow. Together the odd couple embark on a free-spirited new life.On a quest to live like normal average people, Elling and Kjell's friendship grows - kittens, girlfriends and terrorist poetry enter the equation - even fame beckons. But there are fears to conquer before that, answering the telephone for one, leaving the house for another and the journey outdoors is by no means an easy one. A touching and hiliarious comedy of anxiety.


Review: This is a book I had been dying to read for ages, and which I couldn't find in bookshops, nor online in hardcopy for (what I consider) a reasonable price. The Kindle version cost closer to what I would expect to pay for a hardcopy, so I had put off getting it, but eventually I relented and bought the Kindle version. I'm pretty happy that I did, because it turned out to be a very funny and occasionally slightly surreal read. I did feel at times that it didn't really seem to be going anywhere, but overall by the end I found I had become quite attached to the characters and wanted them to end up happy.

This book has a lot of heart, portraying its two eccentric leads as kooky but loveable people with severe quirks that make integration into the real world very difficult. In their discovery of their new life living together in Oslo, we are introduced to a small but interesting cast of characters (including a pair of kittens, who we didn't get to see enough of) and across a series of unlikely events we're shown how everybody is actually a little bit weird.

Very very funny at times, and painfully relatable at others (I found myself relating massively to the mindsets induced by anxiety in this novel) this is a novel that is as honest as it is strange. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety, or even just felt a little bit strange.

Rating: 4/5

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