“It is possible that time does not exist, although things still move. Life is in motion. We are born and we die. I grow older. What good does it do that time is not the same on the sun?”
–Erland Loe, Naïve. Super
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Chatting with my lovely friend Naomi today, we came upon the topic of influential literature. Not necessarily literature that influences masses of people, but pieces that have been individually influential. Although there are numerous works, both fictional and non-fictional, that have influenced me quite greatly, I would have to settle on one particular book that has stood out as The Book That Changed My Life.
This particular book is Naïve. Super by Erlend Loe, originally published in Norwegian and translated into English by Tor Ketil Solberg. Chances are you probably have never heard of this novel, but it was a bestseller in Norway when it was published in 1999. I was introduced to the book several years ago in a Nordic studies class and it captured my heart almost immediately.
The simplistic and direct style of Naïve. Super sets the perfect pace for the 25-year-old unnamed narrator to describe his sudden loss of purpose to life. At the time I first read this, I couldn’t relate; I knew what I wanted in life, I had an idea of where I was going, and everything seemed very well-planned to me. I could not relate to the sudden need to flee from a situation or a desire to spend so much time alone, which is a large part of what the narrator does in order to help him get to the bottom of his deep and philosophical questions about life, time, and purpose.