The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

In 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In a great haste, she escapes to Sweden, saving herself. Her family in Oslo, however, is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, who helped Ester get to Sweden. Their burgeoning relationship ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.

And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

Written with Dahl’s trademark characterization and elegant plotting, The Courier sees the hugely respected godfather of Nordic Noir at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrific periods of modern history, in an exceptional, shocking thriller.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have read a few books that are in someway connected to WW2, but never one that is set in Norway. In honesty, I am ashamed to admit that I never had any idea about Norway’s involvement in the war. The book is set both in 1942 when you are introduced to Ester and Gerhard and 1967       when Ester is determined to get answers. There are also very brief chapters that are set in 2015.

This is a book where you need to concentrate a lot when reading. The period that it is set in change for each chapter and there were occasions when I had to check which I was reading about. But when 1942 was left behind I found it much easier to read, and all the questions I had were answered. 

Ester was a character I loved. She is Jewish, and a courier who is working with the resistance. When she witnessed her father being taken away by the authorities and his shop closed I was a little surprised that there wasn’t further focus on this. I has expected the novel to be about the atrocities committed. But the novel focuses on Ester’s determination to find out what happened to her friend and trying to find out how and why Gerhard is still alive 25 years later. It also gives some insight into what happened behind the scenes during the war.

It was increasingly fascinating how the the story connected, and what happened to them in the years between. Especially with Ester, this novel could have just concentrated on her life journey from Norway to Israel. Whilst there wasn’t a lot of focus on what happened to her family, you do get to see the effect it had on her. How it never left her. I imagine this to be a true reflection of what it must be like for descendants of loved ones who were taken away.

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