The Room, by Jonas Karlsson, stars the delightfully odd narrator, Bjorn. Bjorn starts his new, government job at the Authority, an open-plan office. During the work week, he is surrounded by intolerable coworkers, with whom he tries to avoid contact. In fact, Bjorn has poor social skills. In his mind, he’s constantly observant, technical, and critical, with a bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He also dreams of moving up with the company and showing everyone what he’s made of, yet he can’t seem to focus in his crowded office space.
When Bjorn discovers a small, secret room in the office, he feels that he has found his sanctuary. After all, he can get more of his work done in peace and, eventually, move up. While he does improve his work, Bjorn develops an unusual behavior that becomes a cause for concern amongst his coworkers. They claim that he stares off into space, that he’ll stand completely still and stare at nothing, and that he’d talk to himself. The list goes on. Because of the accusations, Bjorn ends up feeling bullied, that they all are plotting to get rid of him. Nevertheless, Bjorn carries on with his work and seeks comfort in the room.
I think that the story was well-written, including the narration and dialogue. I suppose that anyone who has worked in an office can relate to the ups and downs of being in a corporate world. We all can get to that point where we’ll do what it takes to live on our own terms, to be recognized, to feel appreciated.
In my opinion, Bjorn’s character made me have a bit of a love/hate relationship with him. During the reading, I had some moments as to whether I ought to sympathize with Bjorn or to consider him crazy. I definitely wanted to find out how it ended. Of course, I won’t provide spoilers, so I’ll recommend it as a new book to add to your reading list. I think I would give it three stars. Feel free to post your comments.
FTC Disclosure: I received this copy from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.
Jonas Karlsson has performed on Sweden’s premier stage and in acclaimed feature films and TV series. His playwriting debut, Nocturnal Walk, received rave reviews. Spurred by the joy of writing for the stage, Karlsson began writing fiction.