35-year-old Andor Leine has a critical and somewhat stubborn approach to life. He is hardworking and popular with his colleagues, but is profoundly dissatisfied with his own life. Andor has ambitions to achieve more.
The trouble starts when he is interviewed for the workplace intranet. The photo of Andor – dressed in a grey windcheater and ill-fitting jeans – is picked up by a fashion blogger for an internet article about the new normcore trend: “Fashion for those who realise they are one of seven billion.” And what are you supposed to do when you suddenly have to relate to the fact that your uniqueness consists of being a person who doesn’t stand out?
Abruptly, Andor becomes a kind of poster boy for the new trend, which sets off a series of events beyond his control. He has to go home for Easter to his newly divorced mother in Hamar; he meets up with his brother Edward, who has always overshadowed him; he goes to parties with old classmates and measures himself up against their successful life histories. Along the way, he is confronted with the questions: What is my story? And how am I supposed to tell it?
Andor decides to live a less sensible life. After rewatching Fight Club, with the scene where Edward Norton beats himself to a pulp in his boss’s office, Andor is so inspired that he decides to give up his job. Things don’t necessarily turn out the way he’d planned.
Kjetil Nordengen has written a funny novel full of satirical barbs in which deeper themes gradually emerge: it’s about surface versus depth, about controlling your own destiny. About cause and effect, and about how the stories of our lives are constructed. Who are we, really?
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