October 2006

Karin Alvtegen - Shame

"a strong psychological thriller in the style of Barbara Vine."

Monika is a successful doctor living in Sweden who has just met the man of her dreams. Maj-Britt is monstrously overweight, living in an apartment whose only contact with the outside world are her home visits from a nursing agency.

Despite their seemingly disparate lives both Monika and Maj-Britt have a secret buried deep in their past. When they are thrown together as the result of a devastating fluke accident, both are forced to confront their past lives - with shocking results.

This is a strong psychological thriller in the style of Barbara Vine. Both Monika and Maj-Britt are movingly portrayed as women on the verge of a breakdown, Monika because of her complicity in her brother's death and Maj-Britt through her repressed upbringing.

Like Barbara Vine, Alvtegen effectively shows how events can spiral out of control to the extent that none of the participants in the tragedy can do anything to extract themselves from their situation. While I found it sometimes difficult to relate to the two characters, the strength of the writing really came through to produce a taut thriller.

Reviewed by: S.W.

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