Book Review: Doppler

Erlend LoeThis book by Erlend Loe defies description, but I’ll have a go. It’s about Doppler, a Norwegian guy who after the death of his father has an accident on his bike and subsequently turns his back on civilization to live in the forest. His sole companion is Bongo, an elk calf which he feels responsible for having shot Bongo’s mother for food. The conversations with Bongo made me smile. It’s a tale about family, grief, alienation and a gradual warming towards civilization again, or so you think. No matter how much Doppler wants to be alone, he seems to attract people around him.

It’s a charming tale with a cutting edge. Doppler is happy in the forest but is a keen observer of the society he has rejected. Forced to communicate again with his pregnant wife and two children, he struggles to cope with modern society and his responsibilities, Teletubbies and Bob the Builder included. His teenage daughter Nora, named after an Ibsen character of course, insists on talking to him in elfish. His son Gregus forgets the television and instead helps him carve a totem pole, intended as a memorial to Doppler’s father but which comes to represent the three male generations of Dopplers and Bongo.

I read it quickly and wished it was longer, a book that will yield more for re-reading I think.

If you like ‘Doppler’, try these other Scandinavian tales:-
‘I Refuse’ by Per Petterson
‘Wolf Winter’ by Cecilia Eckback
‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent

‘Doppler’ by Erlend Loe [UK: Head of Zeus]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
DOPPLER by @erlendloe #bookreview via @SandraDanby


  1. Interesting book, you did well to describe it. I think I want to read it, but part of me says I’m not sure because it will make me question stuff, so I’ve added it to my wish-list while I decide how much I want to consider…