Elsk Meg i Morgen

Elsk meg i morgenElsk meg i morgen by Ingvar Ambjørnsen
Series: Elling #4
Released: September 7, 1999
Pages: 262
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Elsk meg i morgen er den fjerde og siste av romanene om Elling og hans kamerat Kjell Bjarne. Status quo er at Kjell Bjarne har et forhold til sin kjæreste Reidun Nordsletten og de to sammen har et barn selv om Kjell Bjarne ikke er den biologiske faren. Kjell Bjarne har nå fått jobb i dagligvarehandelen. Elling er for det meste alene nede i leiligheten sin.

Etter at Kjell Bjarne flyttet opp har Elling nærmest grodd igjen i sin egen leilighet. Reidun og Kjell Bjarne fatter mistanke om hva som foregår i leiligheten under. Eller rettere sagt, hva som ikke foregår.

Elsk meg i morgen is a brilliant book. I found a lot of it to be uncomfortable, sad, and stressful. I didn’t enjoy much of it. And yet, it’s fantastic.

This book takes the story of Elling to a new level, and, looking back, kind of a natural conclusion. Up until this point it has been very easy to be charmed by the character, feel with him, and treat his mental illness as a form of window that can be used to view the world in an unusual, but some times funny and thought-provoking way. Up until this point we’ve kind of been looking into Elling’s world through a glass wall, and he has been looking out at the world through the same wall – observing the world, commenting on it, but always in a way where he has been protected from interacting with it in a way that could harm himself and others. In this book the wall is taken away.

The result is a page-turner. Not necessarily to find out what happened next, but just for the assurance that everything will be all right, in the knowledge that everything might not be all right. Elling has become an even less reliable narrator of his own life, and the way this is both stated and hinted at throughout the book sprinkles a constant tension of whether things are as good, or as bad, as they seem, or if things are actually worse. All of these events are coated in the knowledge that Elling isn’t being dishonest: at times he just has a warped and misleading impression of what’s going on around him, which adds to the feeling of desperation I got when reading this book.

Few books, if any, have agitated me as much as parts of this book did. I was uncomfortable, I felt stressed, and I was sad that the person in the centre of all this was Elling – a character that has become so likeable over the course of the three previous books. It’s truly impressive how this is done without anything too far out of the ordinary happening – the story is essentially a story of someone who needs help, but doesn’t know it. Yet this book had more of an impact on me than books where much worse things happen. My hands were shaking as I finished it, and that hasn’t happened for a very long time.

I think any of the previous three Elling books could probably be read on their own, but for this book I would highly recommend reading the other three first. I don’t think this book would have had anywhere close to the impact it had if the character of Elling wasn’t so solidly built up prior to it. And if someone has read the three books prior to this, it wouldn’t make any sense not to read this one. It feels like a fitting conclusion to the stories of Elling, which is why I’m very happy that the recent revival of the character has received such good reviews. Before reading this book I would have said that I look forward to seeing how Elling is doing. After having read this book I’m not sure whether I look forward to it any more, but there is no way I won’t read the new book to find out.

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