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Giles Ruffer on Giles Ruffer.

August 30, 2011 \pm\31 2:00 pm

A review of Giles Ruffer’s Pangur Ban Party e-Book: Oslonians
by Giles Ruffer

I am looking at the ‘cover’ of this e-book. There is a photograph on the cover. It looks like a family photo album. When I was about six we had neighbours that would invite us round to look at holiday slides on their wall. The dad got cancer and died. I remember seeing him on the sofa, bald from chemo, when he was still alive. Even though I knew he was sick and dying, I think I still thought he was always grumpy because I was there.

My eyes look over the page. I am finding it difficult to read. I start reading. The prose is easy. It seems to be mostly simple description.

Just saw a namecheck for Kjell Askildsen, a severely underrated writer outside of Norway who lies somewhere between Samuel Beckett and Kmart realism. Is that what Oslonians is trying to be? The almost list-like description of surroundings at the beginning of part two seems to be somewhat disorientating like the onslaught of arriving in a foreign country where all the sign posts and everyone is speaking in a language you don’t understand.

There seems to be a desire from the couple to try new things and have the ‘authentic’ Oslo experience, avoiding tourist-y things. Exemplified in part five with this one sentence paragraph: In Frogner Park we saw tourists congregate around a phallic statue.

The narrator seems to mock touristic behaviour, but as we read in part six, the couple’s desire to not be tourists results in the girlfriend experiencing weeks of pain [in her feet] after returning from Oslo, as they take a forty-five minute walk from Frogner Park to a Viking Ship Museum, arguably two of Oslo’s major tourist attractions.

While reading this I thought to myself, I feel like I can forgive any flaws in writing style if it is told in first person as I take it for another aspect of that persons character. Oslonians seems to be narrated by an idiot, with the writing ability of a C-grade GCSE student.

Part eight and nine seem to mostly consist of him saying and doing stupid things like assuming a shop on a corner is a Christian Knitting Shop, asking if an Omelette is called a “Frittata”, confusing the word “disquette” for “biscuit.” And then the final piece of slapstick: I slipped forward but maintained my balance and crouched down into a squatting position.

The last little joke between the couple on the coach back to the airport seems nice and seems to sum up the ‘cute winter adventure’-story.

On rereading this I found some parts towards the end kind of boring and feel like this would have made whoever was reading this struggle not to be exasperated with the writer.


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