In The Frame: Karin Fossum
Norway’s Queen of Crime Karin Fossum has tapped into a dark and disturbing place for her new novel I Can See in the Dark. Told from the point of view of Riktor, a lonely man who works in a Nursing Home, I Can See in the Dark deals with the chilling idea that those responsible for the vulnerable might abuse their positions of trust.
Over to Karin Fossum to explain:
I Can See In The Dark
by Karin Fossum
‘I live at Jordahl on the outskirts of town, I have a small red house half an hour’s walk from the park by Lake Mester. It was built in 1952, with that typical end-of-war restraint, spartan, simple and practical. Living room and kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, and that’s all. Two old, wrought-iron stoves that purr throughout the winter, a large, covered veranda where I sit and watch the people who pass by. It’s easy to maintain, with heavy furniture that has no decorative refinement. There’s a forest at the back of the house, of spruce and birch. The house used to have a lovely lawn in front, but now it’s completely overgrown. Occasionally, during the summer I cut it with a scythe, and I enjoy playing the Grim Reaper. I feel at home in the part.
It takes me forty minutes to walk to the nursing home at Løkka. And I walk whatever the weather, even though the bus stops at the entrance. There’s something about walking, it orders the thoughts, puts them into perspective. My house is on a rise, facing west; and in the evenings the sun shines through my living-room window like a great, glowing sphere. It hangs there a moment casting a golden glow, until the rooms shimmer with heat, then it sinks behind a stand of trees. Slowly, everything turns blue.
All the shrubs and trees, and the wooded hillsides in the distance.
It’s then that my head begins to seethe. Billions of tiny creatures swarm through my brain, digging tunnels and severing the essential communications I need to be able to think, reason and plan. Good deeds and bad, it varies, I’ve so many irons in the fire. Normally I go to the window, and stand there looking out, waiting for everything to calm down. And sometimes there really is a hush. As when someone switches off a flow of words. Then I find the silence troubling and immediately switch on the radio or television just to hear voices. Sometimes, when I’m with people, I find I’m on the verge of panic for no reason whatever. I assume a friendly expression so that no one will see what’s happening to me, that I’m existing in chaos.
I’ve never mentioned any of this to a doctor. Even though we have a doctor on the ward and I could have
confided in him. We are colleagues, after all. You see, I might have said to Dr Fischer, my head begins to seethe when the sun goes down. It’s like thousands of ants, like a swarm of crawling insects. There are whispers in the corners of my bedroom, and an articulated lorry parks next to my bed. Its engine idles the whole night long, and I can hardly breathe for all the diesel fumes. But you don’t go telling people things like that. Although he’s a doctor, it would make him think, and I don’t want to cause myself embarrassment.’
It’s heart-racing stuff and if you like psychological thrillers this is the book for you!