#AW80books : Get your sticky mitts off my stapler!

‘The Room’, by Jonas Karlsson is my stop over in Sweden for #AW80books, however, it doesn’t really ever go outside the walls. Björn looks out at the snow, but it’s far more a book about offices and people, and how weirdly people behave whilst in offices. Which is very weird indeed. I work in an office part of the time, and it’s only natural we colonise spaces we spend so many hours in, and so the people we work with become day-time room mates or annoying siblings. It’s a wonder we don’t pull each other’s hair more often.

Björn can see a room that no one else can, rather like the room is requirement in Harry Potter, but personal only to him. And he doesn’t disappear when he visits it, he’s just standing there in the corridor in trance. The room gets nicer every time he goes, and he gets lots of work done there among the wonderful office furniture and stationery, free from the painting and fairy-light adorned cubicles of his colleagues, and their ugly clothes.

And it’s these colleagues that take exception to him standing in the corridor, and want him sacked for being mentally unstable.

From what I have read about Swedes, they are very authoritarian, and like rules and procedures. I get the feeling if Björn had behaving oddly in a Norwegian firm, as long as the work was getting done they wouldn’t have minded as much. in Iceland, while many people don’t actually believe in elves they’ll divert a new road in case it disturbs elvish homes. You’d get locked up for such thinking in Sweden.

This a short and interesting book. I felt sorry for the rather un-likable, over-critical Björn, and for anyone who has worked in an office, it’s a little too true to be comfortable in places. Anyone who watched the sitcom ‘The Office’ or the film ‘Office Space’ and found them cringing at the horrid realness, may love or hate this book.

My copy has a rather sad stamp in the front, where it was withdrawn and discarded, like a middle-aged ex-wife of a millionaire, by a NY state library. I read about this book late at night and had no memory of ordering it until it came through my door several weeks later. At least I hope it was late at night, as otherwise I’m unknowingly ordering books whilst wide awake.

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