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Nothing by Janne Teller: A 48 Hour Book Challenge Update

June 5, 2010

What I said about Borderline being a great choice for this challenge? Does not apply to Nothing by Janne Teller, translated from Danish by Martin Aitken. I need to decompress after reading it and writing this review. I can’t just pick up another book and immediately start reading, which, after all, is what you want to do in a reading challenge.

Nothing is an astounding book, undoubtedly among the best books I’ll read this year. I’m going to have a hard time forgetting about it, it’s so haunting and disturbing and frightening. This book deserves all the starred reviews it’s received here upon its US publication and, I have no doubt, the children’s book prizes it’s already won in Europe.

Pierre Anthon realized that nothing matters. His classmates, all thirteen or fourteen-years-old, believe he is wrong. They collect things with meaning to prove to Pierre Anthon that things matter and there is meaning to life. But what started as a collection of favorite toys and mementos soon escalates into something darker, as the classmates begin to force one another into giving up more than material possessions.

Agnes is one of the students. She watches as things start to go wrong, participates in the collection of meaningful things. She tries, early on, to convince her classmates they’re going too far. But their quest has taken on a momentum of its own and Agnes is compelled to remain a part of it. They’re all in it together. As a group, they decided not to tell adults about Pierre Anthon, and as a group, they refuse to let any of their number back out.

For people looking for a thought-provoking, challenging (in terms of content, not style) read, put Nothing on the top of your list.

Reading Time: 54 minutes

Blog/Twitter Time: 28 minutes

Total Reading Time: 2 hours 42 minutes

And now I need some light reading. Maybe Yakitate!! Japan vol. 22? Or maybe I’ll just go to sleep, because we had such a hectic day at work.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2010 8:48 am

    Ooosh. I heard about this book and I’m not so sure I want to put myself through it. It does sound amazing, just in a very, very difficult way.

    • June 5, 2010 7:09 pm

      I know what you mean. I still haven’t read Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels because of this. It’s hard to *recommend* a book like Nothing, because I didn’t exactly have a good time reading it. But I cannot deny its quality one bit.


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