Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song tells the story of a family unravelling. Siri, a well known chef; John, a novelist with writer’s block; Jenny, Siri’s mother; young kids in the house and neighborhood; and the nanny. The stories of the characters intertwine and change from blaming themselves to blaming each other. What happens to an already disruptive family when the nanny, a beautiful young woman, ends up missing after a birthday party for Jenny. A party Siri plans but no one else wants.
Is it the philandering husband? The jealous wife? The alcoholic grandmother? One of the children? Or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time? The narrative weaves the guilt of each person and their relationships until we finally learn what happened.
This was a slow read for me, but I think the pacing of the book is meant to mimic the coldness in the family. When no one can trust or talk to one another, a frigidness and slowness seeps in.
Read November 2016.