Naive.Super by Erlend Loe


Naïve. Super is told from the point of view of a (very young) 25-year old trying to find meaning in his life after quitting university, his job and flat.  He moves into his brother’s flat while he’s away and tries to figure out how to live.

For the first two chapters or so, I was worried I’d read this book a bit too late – that I was going to find the narrator incredibly annoying in the same way I found Holden Caulfield a bit of a twat because I read it a couple of years ago instead of as a teenager. BUT I loved it very quickly after that.  It’s a short, odd book, written in the simple, naïve style of the narrator’s thoughts. There are also lists. Lots of lists. The lists are things like, ‘things that used to excite me when I was younger’ or ‘things that are small’. His lists make me want to make my own (except the pages and pages of library printouts when searching for dirty words – that was a bit long and maybe only worked in the original Norwegian).

The narrator also thinks a lot about physics, mainly the apparent non-existence of time and the hugeness of everything compared to the smallness of us.  I loved these bits.  I think a lot about this ‘philosophy of physics’ type stuff too, though I find it kind of freeing while it petrifies him for most of the book.  I’m pretty sure most people would find at least one weird thought in this book relatable – including (especially?) his pleasure at repeatedly doing something childish and simple like throwing a ball against the wall.

It’s a quick read, perfectly odd, at times frustrating and at others completely charming. Mostly, it’s just nice reading about someone else thinking the weird things I sometimes think about.

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