Newly published by Kolon forlag, this gangster trilogy features three novels written by Frank Tandberg in the late 90s. “Nattens joker” was written and published for the first time in 1995 and followed by “Løgnernes paradis” three years later. The last novel “Siste tog øst” came out in 2002.
In all three novels, Tandberg tells us the story of Norwegian man Martin Lorentzen falling down the slippery slope. In “Nattens joker” things escalate pretty quickly from secretly rolling joints on the back of menus to cutting lines of some real heavy stuff. There are no friends, no lovers, just the ones “who have” –and that is all what matters.
The narrative in “Nattens joker” has a flow, but hardly builds any tension. It seems to reach a certain point of regression, when you think it cannot get any worse, but then it gets worse, and you are like “Alright” and quickly read a few pages with just one eye open.
Tandberg’s trilogy is a grimy window to the world where everything is for sale and the value of everybody can be measured with money and dope. It is not a pleasant read. The sad thing about it, is that it’s not an imaginary world, it’s the downside of the society we live in. The fact that we don’t see it doesn’t mean it does not exist.
The publication of all three Tandberg’s novels under one cover in 2016 could be seen as a much needed reality check, not least to remind us that the things he was writing about in 1995 over ten years ago have barely changed at all.
Text: Marina Borovaya