The Snowman (Harry Hole Series) Inspector Harry Hole tracks a Norwegian serial killer in this installment of Jo Nesbø's New York Times bestselling series. Jo Nesbø. This translation was originally published in Great Britain by Harvill Secker, an imprint of the. Random House Group Ltd., London, in Vintage is a. EBOOK EPUB KINDLE PDF. Read Download Online Jo Nesbo Books In Order: Harry Hole Series,. Blood On Snow Series, Doctor Proctor.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Over Her Dismembered Body: Contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone Crime Fiction, In this way, the threat the serial killer poses is easy to exorcize: Because the pathology of the serial killer is so neatly contained, the threat is easily dispelled. The two killers in Birdman treat women as disposable, anonymous sex toys, only different from blow-up dolls in that they decompose. They are the actions of a society that hates women. They are both presented by the media as unconventional rebels who, as teenagers, were uninterested in schoolwork. His athletic abilities are also brought up, and one interviewer makes the fact that he goes rock climbing a central point of his article Robinson Evidently, the authors must appear to be, like their detectives, hard-boiled mavericks. Yet, as regards violence, the authors are treated differently. Yet one might argue that leaving the reader to make up her own mind about moral judgements, forcing her to engage with the text in a more hands-on manner, increases the impact of the writing. It is simply more difficult to forget and move on. This allegiance is also picked up by some reviewers.

In Birdman, Hayder deals mainly with women at the bottom of the social scale. The narrative suggests that most men worry about the genetic identity of their children, and hints that the actions of Lund-Helgesen are different in terms of degree rather than in kind.

The eroticized corpse The corpse has always assumed a central place in crime writing, but despite — or perhaps because of — this centrality, it produces a number of anxieties. The corpse as the simultaneous beginning and end presents a problem for the narrative. It is a memento mori, a reminder to the reader that she or he will also die — an image that is terrifying.

Yet, without a dead body there would be no story to tell. This ambivalence allows the corpse to fulfil a number of functions within the crime narrative. The dead body also fulfils other, more utilitarian, functions. It has also been suggested that the torture and death of female victims is a selling point, a clever strategy employed by female writers to prove that they are as tough as male authors, and thus boost their sales Hill However, whether the dead body is a symbol of the disintegration of society, a psychoanalytical signifier of the instability of the subject or an excuse for the detective to show off his or her intellectual powers, it is, when female, clearly also linked to sex and the gazes of the detective and the reader.

Admittedly, Katherine Gregory Klein has argued persuasively that from a structural point of view, the victimized body is always gendered female, regardless of biology In other words, regardless of biological sex, because the victim is placed in a defenceless position, looked at and analysed, he or she is read as female.

Yet, I would argue that the gender of the victim is not as free-floating, as separate from its biological sex, as Klein and Palmer seem to suggest. Certainly, when the dead body is treated as an erotic object it is generally a female body. Thus, the body under scrutiny, be it in the library, in a skip in a back street or in the autopsy suite, may be gendered female regardless of sex, but it is the biological female who is eroticized.

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The erotic appeal of the female corpse has long been a part of western literature, as Daniel A. One particularly telling example he quotes is an US newspaper article by James Gordon Bennett, where he narrates a visit to the morgue to see the body of a murdered prostitute.

With the advent of the scientist as sleuth, the opportunity arrived for a closer engagement with the dead body. No longer does the encounter with the dead body end with its discovery.

When DI Jack Caffery comes to the scene, the first woman, later identified as Shellene Craw, is presented as an unrecognisable object: This woman is no longer pretty, and he thus has difficulty recognizing her as human even though he has just been told that he is looking at a woman.

The dehumanization of the women continues at a later scene in the autopsy suite. Four more bodies have been found, and these five women are taken apart, analysed and investigated. This is a reminder of how society consumes women, spitting out the leftovers. When alive the women worked as prostitutes and strippers, their bodies commodities to be consumed by men.

This consumption is completed by the murderers, who use the women as so much meat, and when the meat goes off, literally, they are thrown out as rubbish. They are faceless and interchangeable, chosen more or less at random, the only requirement being that they are women, so that the heterosexual killers can act out their sexual desires on them.

One of the killers also literally puts a mask on them, painting on garish make-up and stitching a blonde wig to their heads, in order to transform them into his ideal woman. It can be argued that Hayder references, as a gruesome parody, advertising for make-up and hair-colouring products. In such adverts, individuality is presented as inferior — a woman is not good enough as she is, she is unfinished. Just as society requires that women must be transformed to be acceptable, so does the killer.

There is a clear link between the actions of the killers and that of the authorities, the police officers and the medical practitioners.

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The women are subjected to the full blow of the scientific, male gaze. Although there is at least one woman present 24 , the principal actors are men: Caffery, Detective Super Intendent Steve Maddox, and the forensic pathologist, Harsha Krishnamurthi, and they treat the bodies with professional detachment. Here it is not a question of speaking for the dead.

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Instead the dead are taken apart in order to find traces of the killer. The atrocity of what has been done, and is being done to these women, is not commented on by the men present, or the narrative.

Instead, by exposing these women like butchered animals, Hayder leaves it to the reader to feel the humiliation of what the killer has done to them, and what further indignities this leads to. Missing what? A conscience?

No one cares for these women, Hayder seems to suggest, not lovers, parents, employers or representatives of the government — society has abandoned them. When the bodies are described, the descriptions are short, as is the description of the only murder where the killer is not in emotional control.

It is described in a flashback to a murder that has taken place many years before the main events of the novel. Like the woman Caffery encounters on a construction site in Birdman, this body is difficult to identify: However, this reference to the female breast is not in any way eroticized.

As in Birdman, there is a scene in The Snowman featuring dead bodies in a clinical environment. In this case it is the Anatomy Department of Gaustad Hospital, where bodies are dissected by medical students. Harry Hole goes there to try to track down the missing body of a dead woman — only her head has been found at the murder scene. The whole event takes less than two pages. These corpses, although they have been donated to science, are not there to be gazed at, either in a scientific or erotic sense.

The reader is instead reminded that the body they find is that of a woman, and she is identified by name, Sylvia Ottersen. She is a person, not an interchangeable piece of meat intended to titillate or scare the reader.

The body is on display on top of a snowman. Here too the description is short, with little detail. Hole and the other crime scene investigators experience a numbing sense of dread, which communicates itself to the reader.

It is not her body itself that is important, but the message it conveys. The research on paternity uncertainty and male seals killing females as a deliberate strategy comes back at several points throughout the novel, referred to both by Hole , and by the killer , Questions of paternity form a counterpoint throughout the novel: Paternity and adulterous mothers are also linked to inherited disease.

Through conceiving by their lovers rather than their husbands, several of the mothers have exposed their children to hereditary, sometimes deadly, illnesses.

The narrative thus conveys a sense of paranoia and distrust running through society — can any woman be trusted? When the killer, Mathias Lund-Helgesen, realizes, as a teenager, that not only has his mother betrayed the man he believes to be his father, but also that he is the bastard offspring of her lover, he kills her. As an adult, he re-enacts this murder, setting out to punish and kill other unfaithful women.

As a carrier of patriarchal concerns, it is symptomatic that he only punishes the women. Because no woman can be trusted, no man can be certain of who his father is. Lund-Helgesen also voices the notion that he is only doing what society requires of him, just as Hole does: Adulterous mothers are not only a moral problem for society, they are also transmitters of disease, and they need to be stopped. When society and its agents, such as Hole, fail to act, Lund-Helgesen performs the task himself.

In Birdman, Hayder includes two scenes where women have their breasts cut open, without anaesthetic, by the second perpetrator, Malcolm Bliss. In the first scene, Hayder builds up the tension by devoting several pages to the fear and distress of the woman, Susan Lister.

Having been abducted, she tries to convince herself that she can cope with the rape she expects will follow. All she has to do, she thinks, is to give in: Bliss, who finds her breasts too big to be attractive, mocks and abuses her, before taking out the scalpel to start the butchery. The cutting and stitching up is not described in this scene. Lister apparently loses consciousness almost immediately, but it is revealed afterwards, through the narration of the police officers, and through descriptions of photographs Bliss has taken, just how he has mutilated and humiliated her: Yet, as Hayder suggests, no amount of compliance will appease a society that hates women.

Joni Marsh, the second victim, has her breast implants removed whilst completely awake. Like Lister, she is bound and gagged, but she is fully conscious of what is happening to her. No matter what women do, they will be adversely judged. In a fashion climate where women are told that large breasts are a necessity, and where breast implants are commonplace, Susan Lister and Joni Marsh are brutalized for not having small breasts.

Marsh has had breast implants in an effort to comply with societal demands. Yet, they are not rewarded for their efforts.

Instead Bliss, as a symptom of patriarchal society, destroys them. Yet this fitness does not help her. In the end, the killer catches up with her. The actual dismemberment is not depicted, however.

The chapter ends with the killer saying: The other woman who is dismembered is Eli Kvale. Like the other women, she suffers from fear. In her case, it stems from a rape many years ago, a rape that resulted in her beloved son, but which also has had a debilitating impact on her life. Brief references to how the fear cripples her are sprinkled throughout the novel, as well as how the killer exploits that fear , , , , , for example , but when she is finally killed it happens off stage.

All that is revealed to the reader is that when her husband reports her missing, her dress is found cut in such a way as to suggest that she has been cut up with the same tool as was used on Sylvia Ottersen. Next time Kvale appears, it is as a reassembled corpse sitting on top of a snowman and there is no further information about how she died, or how she felt. However, by keeping the violence at distance, effectively protecting the reader, it also becomes less immediate and thus the social criticism less effective.

The victims are more easily dismissed as collateral in the intellectual struggle between the detective and the murderer. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No.

The Devil's Star: A Harry Hole Novel

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