What I thought:
The Secret History meets We Need to Talk About Kevin? A bold claim, but one that had me champing at the bit to read this, nonetheless. Those books are two of my favourite of all-time and with Quicksand also laying claim to Best Swedish Crime Novel of 2016, I thought I was in for a treat and then some. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Beginning with a murder trial, I was fully prepared to love this book. I love a courtroom drama and this had the hallmarks of a good one: privileged, popular, straight A student Maja Norberg is standing trial for the murder of her boyfriend and classmates. A mass shooting has taken place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb ad eighteen-year-old Maja is charged for her involvement in the massacre. Now the time has come for her to enter the courtroom. But how did Maja—a top student—become a cold-blooded killer? The media whips up the whole country into a frenzy and Maja becomes guilty before even tried.
Now, I don’t always have to like a cast of characters in order to be invested in their story, but frankly, Maja and her equally privileged friends were so unlikeable that I couldn’t make myself care one way or the other. What started out as a did-she-or-didn’t-she drama, quickly descended into endless flashbacks of teenage love triangles, drugs, parties and the likes. Maybe I’m just really old, but honestly, I couldn’t give a toss about any of them or their angst.
To be fair, it did start well: Maja is found in her classroom amongst a room full of dead classmates and she doesn’t have a scratch on her. I was excited to read more and find out what really happened in that room on that fateful morning. I wanted to know why Maja seemed so detached from it all. Then the book took a serious nose-dive towards the middle and I found myself bored of the to-ing and fro-ing between timeframes and lost interest.
Quicksand, for me, lacked suspense or tension: there were no surprises, twists, red herrings and no reason to keep reading on. And yet I did. Because surely an award-winning book must redeem itself, right? Wrong. I read all the way to the end and wasn’t even rewarded for my slog. That said, it is getting lots of rave reviews so definitely one to make your own mind up about.
I’d love to know what you thought if you have read it.
I received a copy of this book for review from Simon & Schuster in return for my honest opinion.