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Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?


This is the question that continued to haunt me throughout the novel.  I still can't answer the "why" element, but it is clear that it did several things, a number of which have been commented upon by others, including still more than I capture below. 


This list is some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind on the topic.


1.  It immediately gave the story a very noir feeling.

2.  The story was at once international in scope, not just a Swedish story.

3.  People were seen as doing desperate things from which they thought they could escape or end much more readily than would turn out to be the case.

4.  The story had an immediacy about drug trafficking out of Poland and the conditions that have arisen out of the Eastern bloc of nations as they have struggled in the aftermath of WWII and Communist regimes.

5.  A certain ambiguity about right and wrong was immediately introduced -- reminded me of college students today who sell their sperm or eggs for the money they can obtain.

6.  Expect to learn things as a reader you may not be certain you want to learn or know.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎11-03-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I think that Grens is a very interesting character.  He is an older style cop whose life revolves around his job.  He has issues in dealing with the passing of his wife and has not really come to terms with his grief.  When it says he put away his cassettes it basically meant that he was moving on.  He was attempting to regain some of his life and not use the music to shut out his feelings.

Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-03-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I also agree that Grens is a very interesting character.   very old school !!   I am loving the book though however became a little behind in my reading as with working Retail during the Christmas madness, hoping to catch up and finish this week.    excellant book though.

Posts: 238
Registered: ‎10-25-2006
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


dhaupt wrote:


Peppermill wrote:

Okay, "guys," (that's gals, too), please show us the close reading that has so many of you so distrusting of Erik.  Somehow, I haven't gone there.  What have I been overlooking or perhaps discounting?  Or, is it an American general cultural distrust of people who have jobs/roles like his?




I at this point distrust almost everyone, it seems like all but a few of the characters are playing both sides against the middle. It's not so much that I distrust Erick, but I do wonder how far he'll go to protect Piet if something should happen. And I think his comments about what really happened when the murder occurred that he questioned Piet's part in it and wondered more than once if he could have pulled the trigger. I think for me there's such a feeling of general distrust from all perspectives in the novel that it seems to maybe rub off on us. 

It's a very dangerous game everyone is playing here and someone is bound to get burnt, we just have to follow the smoke.

And I should also say that even though I distrust these characters I still like them.

Go Figure :-)


Distrust - everyone except Grens. He's the only one I get a feeling of honesty from. The others are all questionable at this time. I wonder about Piet/Paula - is he planning a double cross, why is he doing this when it appears so dangerous. Erik, I don't know about yet, as to everyone else, who knows at this point?  I'm reserving judgement on them.


But, it is intriguing. Good read so far.

Posts: 55
Registered: ‎03-10-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

The first part was difficult for me to get through. I was confused by all the characters and I wish the authors had explained about how the code names for informants worked a little bit sooner. It would have made things clearer for me.  This part felt a little slow to me as there was so much set up to the story.  It slowly started to pick up, however, mid-way through the book.

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Registered: ‎11-21-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

It took me a while to get in to the flow of TS. It jumps around a lot, but when the action starts picking up I think it helps bring the reader in to the adrenaline rush and confusion. But this book is AWESOME! I'm utterly hooked and find it hard to put the book down when my lunch hour is over. The only thing I wish the book had was a pronunciation guide I keep getting hung up on words and wish I knew how they really are pronounced.

"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White