Sunday, 20 August 2017

A Norwegian Tragedy. Book review.

Hello. I remember when the news came out about the massacre of 69 young people on the island of Utoya in 2011, and wondered what kind of person could do that. There were some court scenes on the television of the trial, and Anders Breivik came across as smirking, with no remorse whatsoever about what he had done. What usually happens when such murderous atrocities occur is that the perpetrator is often gunned down in a shoot out, but on this occasion Breivik gave himself up. He momentarily decided he wanted to live. 
The newspapers were full of 'how could this have happened,' stories, what kind of a mind could be so evil? This book is a study of Breveik's life from childhood to the time he was arrested, painstakingly pieced together by the author. It charts the difficult relationship he had with his mother, the graffiti gangs he ran around with, and his obsession with computer war games. In his disturbed mind the differences between real life and imaginary avatars battling it out on a screen blurred into one, and was not clear cut. The book digs deep into the psychological profile of Breveik. He was very much a lone psychopath/sociopath who tried to fit in but never really succeeding.

The first part of the book is about the bombings in the centre of Oslo which Breveit carried out. There is a lot about the political climate at that time, which I must admit I skimmed through. Levels of immigration were the cause of a lot of the turmoil on the streets. Breveik's motives were thought to be based on this.

I am always interested in how the human mind can take on so many different personas, and this one is as complicated as they come. An interesting read, but maybe not for the squeamish or easily upset.

This book is reviewed on Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip  


  1. At the time, he explained that he has exercised a 'no feelings' behavior, guided only by his concern for his country being invaded by foreigners. If I remember correctly, he said something about training himself during several years before the killing took place.

    1. He did indeed train for years. He wrote what he called a Compendium, a bit like a manual which held the key to all the worlds problems, and how he thought they could be solved. He was confused in his mind about who the real enemies are, sometimes it was women, sometimes Islamists, sometimes all immigrants. I didn't know anything about Oslo before I read this book, but it seems that they have had a big problem with foreigners.

      This is such a complex topic, the only simplistic word I can find to describe Breveik is, unhinged.

  2. I am very interested in psychology or perhaps I'm just nosey.I think a lot of the time, I have found people with behavioual problems, have had problems when they were very young and they re live situations repeatedly throughout their lives-very strange x

    1. I call myself nosey at times, but I am mainly curious and interested. The nature / nurture thing fascinates me. His childhood was difficult, his relationship with his mother was fractured, as was her relationship with her parents. These traits get passed on down the line. The family were monitored by social services for several years, but they were unable to predict what the outcome would be. His mother was not co operative at times.

      Him going off the rails was brought on by a combination of things. Lack of affection from his mother, unable to fit in with his school friends as a young boy, and unable to penetrate the wall around the graffiti gangs to become one of the lads. He was a loner, wanting to lead, not follow. He was radicalized by the war games which he took part in on screen, and could not differentiate between real life and the virtual world.

  3. Hi Ilona, we are off to Norway in a couple of weeks. When we cycled through in 2006, there were virtually no non-Norweigans that we could see. I expect that any capital city will have its fair share though. I think you are correct that this was the act of an unhinged man.