Geiger by Gustaf Skördeman

I’ve not been writing my ‘reviews’ lately because my day-job has been nuts, which has cut into my time; with that free time being used up reading books that could be described as all-time greats (like Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children or Murakami’s Wind-up Bird Chronicle) and its tough to add something to the existing dialogue on books of such established quality.

Anyway… I’ve been stuck for reading, with the bookshops in Dublin being closed due to Covid and my preference for avoiding online purchases (particularly Amazon) whenever possible, but I came across this book called Geiger in a shop that’s allowed to stay open because its selling office supplies.

(This is totally off subject, but isn’t it crazy that ‘Office Supplies’ shops can stay open during a full lockdown – and this store had several signs stating that fact – but bookshops have had to be close. My thought is; what is a greater benefit to the health of a nation – which surely must include considerations for mental health – access to ‘Office Supplies’ or literature…)

The shop had a small selection of books next to the checkout and I figured I’d take a punt on Gustaf Skördeman because his name gave the impression that Geiger was a novel in translation, and if someone had taken the time and effort to switch 400 pages to English, it might have a little something about it.

Now, if I’d been wearing my glasses while purchasing my ‘offices supplies’, I’d have noticed the advert on the cover that said, “for fans of I Am Pilgrim”. Alas, I am not a fan of that particular book, which I read between date-one and date-two with a tinder match (who was certainly a fan), in the hope of progressing to date-three.

Needless to say, I didn’t arrive at date-two in the same frame of mind as I would have in the lady in question had recommended… well, almost any other book.

I’m not someone who really likes writing negative reviews about novels/authors (and will spare you a tirade on I Am Pilgrim) because I really appreciate how difficult it is to even write a readable 80,000 words, and what a slog it is from that huge achievement onto publication.

That said, Geiger really wasn’t the book for me. I could rip fully a third of the pages out and pass the edited copy onto another reader, and they wouldn’t miss them.

Its particular weakness was that not one of the characters had a face for me, and so when the inevitable thriller twist occurred, I wasn’t invested in the personal outcomes for the characters because they were just words on a page and not faces in my mind.

I hate to be critical, but Geiger is six hours of my reading time that I will never be able to get back. I’m sure other readers will enjoy it more than I did, and that the novel has the potential to be converted into TV/Movie, which obviously create visuals without the need for true imagination, and there’s a lot of women kicking ass in the story, that often seems to be underrepresented on the screen.

Honestly, I can’t recommend Geiger, but as the cover notes, if you enjoyed I Am Pilgrim, perhaps this is just the book for you.

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