Doppler by Erlend Loe is a book I always go back to. Whenever I am stressed out, sad, happy or just in a wandering mood – I open up a random page and start reading.
On the surface, Doppler is a heartwarming story about a man and his moose written in a simple and naive language.
On the other hand, it is a satirical criticism of a modern society and contemporary capitalism. It is the story of a misanthropic man in a midlife crisis who has turned his back on society.
It is also a dark, bittersweet, surrealistic and compelling story about what is meaningless in the 21st century, about loneliness and about finding one’s place in the world.
Doppler is a man living an average life in Norway, together with his wife and two children. He is a passionate cyclist.
One day he falls of his bicycle in the woods near Oslo and hits his head. Lying in the forest, Doppler has an epiphany about the modern society. At that moment, he decides to live alone in the woods above the city.
He packs his tent and rucksack, and leaves a note to his family saying that he is moving to the woods and that they shouldn’t wait for him for dinner.
After six months, Doppler still lives in the forest. His only companion is a moose calf, named Bongo, who he adopts after killing its mother for food. Doppler soon realizes there is one thing from the modern world he can’t live without. It is skimmed milk.
While trying to build a new life and reject the previous one, Doppler also tries to come to terms with the death of his father who he hardly knew.
One of the main questions of the book is whether the death of his father is driving Doppler to a nervous breakdown or is he just a man driven to the edge by the pressure of modern life?
The brilliant mind behind the book is Erlend Loe, a Norwegian writer. After working in a psychiatric clinic for a couple of years, he turned to writing.
At first, he was a freelance journalist for a Norwegian magazine. Now he is an award winning screenwriter and a novelist.
Loe gained popularity in Scandinavia in 1996 with his humorous and sarcastic novel Naive.Super. Since then his work has been translated into over 20 languages.
Other of his most famous novels are L (1999), Volvo Trucks (2005) and Muleum (2007).