I stayed up late, until small hours, to finish this book which I started only a couple of nights before. It had come to the point when I simply could not put it down until I came to the last page. When I did put it down, I spent the next half an hour or so recalling the images that I had conjured up while reading this wonderful book. The characters drawn in Shame is so powerful that they would stay with you, whether you like them or not.
She had prayed and prayed but never managed to share their faith. God had not wanted her prayers. She gave up everything to show her obedience and to her embraced by His love, but He never answered. Never showed her a single word or sign that He was listening.], that He saw her struggle and her sacrifice. He silenced her because she was not worthy. He rejected her and left her alone with her filthy thoughts.
Meet Maj-Britt, a morbidly obese woman who shied away from the world behind endless comfort eating, piling up so many pounds of flesh that she could not live without care assistance, consumed with the desire to escape from her past shame, and haunted by her relentless fear that it will emerge at any moment to suffocate her.
It wasn’t easy to live alone. Whether it was a cultural thing or not was impossible to say, but somewhere in the human mystery there still seemed to be a basic striving for connection …
… A heart here or there had probably been hurt by her actions, but she had never allowed anyone to come anywhere near the core where little Monika lived, where she scrupulously concealed all her fears.
And her secret.
Monika, on the surface, totally different from Maj-Britt, an accomplished, sophisticated and respectable head surgeon, yet a deeply buried shame in her past tormented her heart and soul, giving her no peace, no safe haven, despite her professional success and financial abundance.
As fate would have it, the two women from two seemingly different worlds were brought together and their eventual confrontation forced them to come head to head with their fears and shame – would they be saved or destroyed in the process?
Reading this story is like peeling an onion, layer after layer, its core was being revealed, engrossing and engaging all the way. I admit that I’ve found Maj-Britt a hugely unlikeable character, yet somehow, the author managed to dredge up a shred of sympathy and at least some kind of understanding of where she came from, where frantic religion was at the core of destroying human decency.
Following Missing, the first book by this author I read a while ago (also a 5 star rating by me, BTW), I can safely say that the author has a new fan in me. Karin Alvtegen, The Queen of Crime in Scandinavia is a well deserved crown and can proudly claim her place among the Scandinavian Super Heros like Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell.