Every now and then you read a book that is totally bonkers but utterly brilliant. Doppler by Erland Loe certainly falls into this category. I must say this isn’t normally a book I would read, anyone who has read my normal book reviews will know that.
In the book we follow the aforementioned Doppler, who after a bike crash in the woods decides that he has had enough of modern life and wants to live in the forest. Struggling to understand his father’s death and eschewing all modern trappings, he leaves his family and moves into a tent in the forest above his home town. To start with his only companion is a baby elk who he adopts after killing its mother for food! He soon realizes there is one thing from the modern world he can’t live without…skimmed milk!
Using a mixture of bartering and downright theft he starts to create a life for himself and Bongo the elk. One of the great lines of the book is when Doppler names the elk
”I named him Bongo after my Dad – that’s not his name but you have to be creative with these things’
As he barters and steals from the locals we are introduced to some of the strangest characters ever to inhabit a book….We meet his family which includes his daughter who is obsessed with the Lord of the Rings movies and all things Elvish, his son who decides that he would like to live like his dad…We meet Dusseldorf, an old man who manically creates an accurate model of the town where is Dad is killed during WWII. Roger, a housebreaker with a disgusting habit! We also get to meet a right-wing reactionary who is determined to get Doppler out of the forest.
During the course of the book we see Doppler try to come to terms with the death of his father who he hardly knew and struggling to reject his previous life. One funny side effect is that the more he rejects his old life the more he inspires those people he comes in to contact with and they start imposing into his perfect new life.
This is a brilliant book that is really well written. Is the death of his father driving Doppler to a nervous breakdown or is it just a story of a man driven to the edge by the pressure of modern life? The comedy of the writing hides the fact that Doppler resorts to violence to keep people from interfering with his new life and that he also rejects his family and takes his son away as well.
It is quite a dark book but funny, intelligent and highly enjoyable!
Doppler is published by www.HeadofZeus in E-Book now and in Hardback in December.