Read Borderliners by Peter Høeg Barbara Haveland Online


A haunting story of childhood travail and hope. Strange things are happening at The Biehl School when this elite academy opens its doors to a group of orphans and reform school rejects, kids at the end of the system's tether. But the school is run by a peculiar set of rules, in which every minute is regimented and controlled. The children soon suspect that they are guineaA haunting story of childhood travail and hope. Strange things are happening at The Biehl School when this elite academy opens its doors to a group of orphans and reform school rejects, kids at the end of the system's tether. But the school is run by a peculiar set of rules, in which every minute is regimented and controlled. The children soon suspect that they are guinea pigs in a bizarre social experiment, and that their only hope of escape is to break through a dangerous threshold of time and space....

Title : Borderliners
Author :
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ISBN : 9780312427115
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Borderliners Reviews

  • Debbie Zapata
    2019-03-06 03:47

    Ever since I read Smilla's Sense of Snow years ago, I wanted to read more by this author, but none of his books were available at my local library in those days. Last year I treated myself to plenty of online buying of used books, and this was one of quite a few Peter Høeg titles I purchased. It is not an easy book to read. The style is complex and a little confusing, with the narrator using 'I', 'you', and 'one' interchangeably but always meaning 'I'. Once you adapt to that, the reading gets easier, but the theme is still deep, dark, and challenging. The narrator is a young orphan, a ward of the Danish state for his entire thirteen or so years. He has been in various orphanages and reform schools, but he begins his story while in an academy run by a man named Biehl. The narrative flows back and forth as we witness his days in this school and learn gradually of his past. We meet Katarina and August, who will become important to him and are the catalysts for everything that happens next. And we learn about the borderliners, the children who cannot be classified as A or B but are hovering in between two standard labels. How do they see the world? The book is riveting, but I will need to reread to fully 'get it', especially the final chapters which discuss the narrator's theories of time and how Man perceives/experiences it. That may sound like a topic completely out of left field for this story, but trust me, it is quite relevant and helps to explain a great deal.Overall, a dramatically intense book that for me will be better understood the second time around. I hope.

  • Harry
    2019-03-18 04:56

    Peter HoegOnce you have realized that there is no objective external world to be found, that what you know is only a filtered and processed version, then it is only a short step to the thought that, in that case, other people, too, are nothing but a processed shadow.This is the experiment. There is no objective reality. Whatever we see is edited by our senses, what we see is nothing but our perception of it. The world exists because we are looking at it. And even other people aren't real, they are edited versions as perceived by faulty senses. And if that isn't real...well, then we can look at people as playthings, objects to be molded into a fashion and for a purpose, which also isn't real but fun to play with.And that opens the door to the darkness, to where the monsters come out to fashion human beings into building blocks that can be manipulated in economic and political fashions, towards anything that satisfies the monster's lust for power. Nothing is real anyway. We are all equal in our unreality, and so the world turns grey, emotions are plasticized versions of whatever ideas we are fed, passion is purely a chemical reaction, there is no such thing as free will, and out there in the real world, buildings rise up and are built of bare concrete, also grey; economies are but massive chronological machines of human production and life and death are meaningless. They aren't real either. And if you think this is allegory, or a fairy tale, take a look at world history! Marxism, Communism, Totalitarianism, Fascism: the monsters eagerly embrace the experiment and we have only to look at the their results to know the truth of it. But much more benign versions exist as well, some not so easily recognizable, perhaps smaller stepping stones (mixed economies and social democracies) towards the same end: government plantations, if you will. Hoeg in Borderliners explores the one essential step towards mollifying the masses to prepare them to accept the experiment: our youth, our educational system where it all begins. In short: control human beings by controlling space and time. The story takes place in Copenhagen's private schools and boarding schools. But, it could just as easily have been placed just North, in Sweden, long believed to be the one successful implementation of a social welfare system. If you've read Stieg Larsson's condemnation of Sweden's social policies, if you've read Mankell, or Nesbo, or just about any Scandinavian crime writer than you will be aware that the world is slowly opening its eyes as to these outright fallacies, as to this idealistic view we have towards Scandinavia. The cracks have appeared in the wall and monsters are slipping through:High Suicide rates, social experiments on children, castration, uncontrolled immigration and asylum policies and a resultant rise in crime, Alva Myrdal (nobel peace prize winner) whose name was further tarnished in 1997 when the journalist Maciej Zaremba exposed the darkness at the core of her book from 1934 Crisis in the Population Question—which she co-authored with her husband. It is widely recognized as the founding document of the Swedish welfare state (her son publicly condemned Alva her for his upbringing), and of course, the assassination of prime minister Olaf Palmer (Swedish version of the JFK assassination)...all represent a definitive break with naivete.Hoeg's story is about the borderliners, three children in particular: borderliners are children who do not fit into the mold as prescribed by population policies. To re-engage them into society, to assimilate them the children are placed in a private boarding school run by a man named Biehl. There, the secret experiment is unleashed upon them.The experiment consists of bringing into the fold, borderliners, and does so by controlling a child's sense of space and time. Space is where you are at any one time, strictly regulated by the school and violated by our borderliners as part of their own counter-experiment. Time is either linear or circular and by assigning linear time to every activity in the school, and circular time to the space students are in at any time, the mind has no time to speculate, to wonder, to innovate anything. Life becomes a monotonous, droll existence seemingly one of complete determinism. Of course, to my mind, the error Hoeg makes is to imply (via our narrator) that the solution towards which the borderliners wrestle is different from the school's experiment being conducted. In reality, we know this is circular thinking. The solution to the experiment, to these three children, is to take the experiment one step further. With a nod to Edgar Allen Poe, the pair of ravens that symbolize the school's emblem also symbolize the book's very dark center.And here I'll unleash my criticism of the book. Hoeg, unlike Smilla's Sense of Snow (which I loved) does not seem to be able to decide between writing this as a novel or a memoir. It is widely acknowledged that Borderliners is part autobiographical. The narrator in the book, in fact, is adopted by a family named Hoeg. On the one hand we have long, convoluted dissertations on the notions of time and space, interspersed with philosophical Kantian musings, followed by fledgling plot elements that are constantly broken by the stream of consciousness style. You may be interested in both notions, or only one, but in my opinion Hoeg fails in writing one cohesive novel as a result. I am giving this book 3 stars, for those reasons.

  • Abailart
    2019-03-06 02:37

    Nearly finished. Enjoying most of all the peculiar leakage between moments in the textual flow which disturbs any idea of a neat linear process. The novel is about the tyranny of time, and has some aphoristic points to make, as would any writer dealing with time as content. Neatly done. A flatness of delivery, possibly reverberating with the emotional numbness which affects each character in different ways, then standing out here and there an image, or a sentence or two of vivid clarity.The teatise on 'time' towards the end is very bald but succinct; accurate too. I wonder whether the intention of the 'theory' was to present an exemplar of how coherence itself is not to be trusted, since, although the narrator 'knows his stuff' and shown himself capable of some philosophical analysis, he concludes that in life all such theories are capable of cocurrence. The point seems to be that human evil can unintentionally arise from strict adherence, one may say aanologous to a punctillious punctuality, to any system or paradigm as a way of netting humanity. Certainly this rather lovely novel celebrates despite its darkness the light of love which howsoever fragile is more steady state and 'eternal' than the wreckages as manifested in the downfall of the particular educational conspiracy describe din the book. How often we come across the rhetoric of those in power, acting with certainty and with an imperious motivation of bringing the inferior people to 'the light':So eloquent. So well-intentioned. But still somehow totally unrelated to what really happened. As though they have had a wonderful, visionary theory about time and children and fellowship.And then - strictly isolated from the theory - have been the actions they have carried out. Time is a problem for us all, perhaps the problem. And it can become tyrannical in its application, appropriation rather, by those who in attempting the impossible, for time is being itself, in trying to isolate through the utter limitations of human senses and reason a diagramitical concept of time (being), a stability, a certainty, a dead thing, suffer it upon children and the world.

  • Christina
    2019-03-07 04:04

    When you have children, you find out that you have so much to learn. Not all of it makes sense at first. One of the things I’ve had to learn, was how to praise my child. That if your child has climbed high up on top of something and she says ‘look at me’, you’re not supposed to say ‘oh how good you are’ but rather, ‘oh look how high you’ve climbed!’ You do this to praise the action, not the child itself, so the child doesn’t think it has to do such things to have value. I think.In part, this novel is about this. About how we value each others, how we evaluate children and students. It’s about three children, Peter, Katarina and August. Peter was orphaned at a very early age. Katarine has lived through her parents’ suicides. And August has been the offer of so much abuse that he finally snapped and killed his parents. They all attend Biehl’s Academy, an elite private school in Copenhagen, but something’s not quite right. All three have lost their parents and especially August are a troubled child. A troubled child that doesn’t belong in this particular school. So why is he there?Peter and Katarina quickly discovers that there’s a plan with the school, there’s a plan with the students accepted to the school, with how the school is run. Trouble is, they don’t know what the plan is and they are not really allowed to talk with each other so they can figure it out. It’s pretty clear that it’s some kind of social experiment, some kind of attempt to prevent what you can call social darwinism. The school wants to take all the children, including the troubled ones, and bring them up and into the light, so to speak, by enforcing a very strict discipline. But if you choose a strict principle and stick to it no matter what, the result can be devastating even though your intention was noble in the first place. Especially in the school system if you forget that students are individuals and should be treated as such – and hitting children never do any good.One of the things Peter and Katarina focuses on, is the question of time. How time changes depending on the situation you’re in. The importance of pauses. What lies between the lines. How there’s never been made a watch that’s precise, and what it does to you to have your entire life completely structured – and to be punished if you’re just a bit late.This novel is slowly paced but then, all of a sudden, things happen. Crazy, painful, jarring things that makes you stop and go back and read it again to see if you really read what you think you read. And you did and your jaw drops – and then, the novel resumes it’s slow even pace and things proceed nicely and quietly. The chronology is also jumping from various points in the past to the present, making you have to stay focused all the time. I think that’s one of the reasons the slow pace works in this novel. In it’s pacing, I think it shows some of the points the narrator, Peter, makes about time. How suddenly events happen that change the way we live in time, the way we experience time. When these violent events happens in the book, you too are violently dragged into it and have to feel the immediacy of the action. Just for a few sentences. And then things slow down again and you can relax into the text once more. One of the things Peter wants to examine is if time moves faster when you’re not paying attention and I think the way Høeg wrote his book, is an example of this. When the jarring events occur, time stops for a little while – you are forced to focus and pay attention, and then, you read one and time starts flowing by again.One thing I really love about this novel is the relationship between the grown Peter and his small daughter. How he has a hard time relating to her because of the abuse he has suffered throughout his life, the way the system failed him and he was too old before he had proper role models. But together, they find a common ground and she, perhaps, helps him most of all by just being a child, being pure feeling and reaction. She tries to bring order to her universe by listing all words she knows. She doesn’t get time at first – no children do – so she tries to understand it through other subjects that she does know. I think this relationship between father and daughter are beautifully rendered in it’s fragility.The narrator in this book is named Peter Høeg, the same as the author. Every school and institution the narrator Peter Høeg talks about in his novel excluding Biehl’s Academy, are real and Peter Høeg has stated that the novel was the most autobiographical of his works (at that point). When it was published, it was taken as an attack on the Danish school system from a man who had experienced the worst of it himself. But later, Peter Høeg reveals that the adoptive parents in the novel are in fact his real parents, that the only autobiographical elements in the book are his first and last name, his year of birth and his parents. Which means that the novel is about him – but at the same time, that it’s not necessarily about him at all. Peter Høeg has never lived anywhere else than with his biological parents. Even though he claimed in interviews that where the institutions were real, the events taking place were also real. But with the case of the fictive Peter Høeg getting punished by having his head stuck down in a toilet, that did happen – just not to him – and so on.The things that did happen, are instead the things that take place on the fictive school. Biehl’s Academy is called Bordings Friskole in the real world and here the author went to school for nine years – and how the teachers hit the students on a regular basis and that Peter was kicked out of school at age 16, is true – among other things.This means, that this book is a blur between fiction and reality. There used to be a sort of agreement between readers and authors that either everything in a novel was true or else, it was false, fiction. This agreement is no longer in existence. Now authors take parts of their life or others’ lives, and use it as they see fit. In Denmark, we have seen several examples of this. And it seem to make some people angry – on the point of law suits and of people being persecuted in the medias, loosing their jobs etc. Peter Høeg does it in this novel – other examples are Knud Romer’s novel Den Som Blinker Er Bange For Døden and Jørgen Leth Det uperfekte menneske (apparently, neither of these has been translated to English).For me, I love this play on reality. I think that this challenges the novel and explores the possibilities of combining fiction and reality in ways that we have never seen before. It doesn’t diminish the worth of the novel in any way. Rather, it’s the authors’s attempt to express themselves and their creativity and vision in ways they see fit. And Peter Høeg does this so very well in De måske egnede (which by the way is a much more appropriate title than the English Borderliners since the Danish title plays on Darwin’s expression of ‘survival of the fittest’.

  • cristina
    2019-03-07 02:39

    "Mi sono svegliato di notte, la bambina si è scoperta, non so se aveva troppo caldo o paura di essere imprigionata. Le ho coperto solo le gambe, così almeno non avrà freddo. E se fosse colta dalla disperazione potrà liberarsi in un attimo. Poi non sono più riuscito a dormire, sono rimasto seduto al buio a guardarle, la bambina e la donna. E allora il sentimento è diventato troppo grande. Non è né dolore né gioia, è il peso, la pressione di essere stato introdotto nella loro vita, e di sapere che essere separato da loro significherebbe l'annientamento."L'ho letto solo la sera, poche pagine alla volta, poche perché è stato inevitabile il dover leggere e rileggere la stessa frase, poche perché ho potuto accogliere tutto questo dolore solo in piccole dosi, un piccolo boccone alla volta, poche perché per ogni frase è stato necessario che io mi fermassi per qualche minuto per essere in grado di affrontare quella successiva.Gli aggettivi li tralascio, bello, bellissimo, doloroso etc...ce ne sarebbero così preferisco il silenzio, si accorda a quello che ho ricevuto da questa lettura.PS: grazie cara amica

  • Ginny_1807
    2019-03-09 06:50

    CapolavoroQuando chi ama leggere si imbatte in un libro come questo, si sente come se fosse stato baciato dalla fortuna. Un passaggio, tra i moltissimi indimenticabili: "Il tempo lineare è inevitabile, è uno dei modi per restare aggrappati al passato, come punti su una linea, la battaglia di Poitiers, Lutero a Wittenberg, la decapitazione di Struensee nel 1772. Anche quello che scrivo qui, questa parte della mia vita, è ricordato in questo modo. Ma non è l'unico. La coscienza ricorda anche campi, passaggi fluidi, relazioni che uniscono quello che è successo una volta con quello che succede ora, senza considerare il corso del tempo. E nel punto più lontano del passato la coscienza ricorda una pianura senza tempo. Se si cresce in un mondo che permette e premia una sola forma di ricordo, allora viene esercitata una costrizione contro la nostra natura. Allora si viene lentamente spinti verso l'orlo del precipizio."

  • Susan Emmet
    2019-03-08 01:35

    I'd liked Smilla's Sense of Snow, so thought I'd try Hoeg's next book. Dark and frightening, it is the fictional tale (although there are big hints of autobiography) of Peter, without parents, in and out of various Danish "schools" for children in "abnormal" circumstances, without families, without supposed "normal" intelligence. Turns out that Biehl's Academy, where time and space are clearly defined and monitored, is actually part of a Big Deal to weed out darkness/abnormality in humanity. Peter is close only to August and Katarina and they plot their escape and revenge on the academy with mixed results.Much ado, too, about time (its nature and scope) and philosophers' "take" on time - from Newton and Kant to Einstein. Linear or circular - or something else? Or combined? Hoeg also muses on the curious fate of mankind and likens it to a spider's web. Spiders have few sensory attachments, but they build webs suited to their ability to care for them, unlike human counterparts. Provocative analogy and metaphor.

  • Cynthia Davidson
    2019-03-01 09:01

    "Understanding is something one does best when one is on the borderline,” Hoeg writes in this book. That wisdom can be applied to borderlines of all kinds, and the 'borderliners' who straddle them. In this novel the 'border' is (primarily) between the adult and adolescent worlds, which is inhabited by children at boarding schools, but also by the staff. Some of these adults are misfits, teetering on the border of mental illness. No child in their right mind would want to 'grow up' if it means emulating the behaviors and attitudes of these 'models' of adulthood. Being "Borderline" also describes a modern personality disorder. Emotional instability is one of its key components, along with extreme moodiness and a tendency towards black-and-white thinking. The staff who enjoy beating the children are moody and emotional unstable, and black-and-white thinking is definitely being advocated at this boarding school where the most vulnerable youngsters are being indoctrinated in cruelty, prejudice, conflict, control and other disorders of the dominant modern Danish culture which Hoeg is criticizing in this book. Tho' i read it years ago, I was mesmerized by this story and haven't forgotten its emotional impact although the details have faded. I've searched for, and can't find the quote online, about the beating of children, and what happens to those who've done this for a long time, without remorse or reflection. Having been beaten myself as a child, I reflected upon it for a long time, and decided not to pass on to my own children that lesson of violence my father eschewed when he'd say 'might makes right'. I suspect I'm more like Hoeg, who'd advocate that 'right makes might'. Having also been to a European boarding school in Switzerland (1968-1970), i wanted to review my own experiences through the lens of Peter's intelligence, and he did not disappoint. I LOVED his "Smila's Sense of Snow" novel and will continue to read everything he writes.

  • Cynthia Collu
    2019-03-07 00:59

    Ci sono dei libri finiti - sembrerebbe - nel dimenticatoio, seppelliti dalla mille cose che nel frattempo ci hanno riempito la vita. Alcuni di loro, li leggi e non gridi al miracolo, e invece il giorno dopo, una settimana dopo, un anno dopo, eccoli lì, con la forza delle frasi, forse solo una, una soltanto, ma ritorna, ingigantisce, diventa il libro intero e tu ti dici che quello è stato proprio un romanzo memorabile, e improvvisamente senti il bisogno di dirlo a tutti. Ecco, per "I quasi adatti" il momento è giunto.

  • Jeanne
    2019-02-25 08:54

    Strange book.Non-sequential (sort of) story line about a boy, Peter, who's been in institutions his whole life. He gets to a school that's being used as an experiment to incorporate both "normal" and "defective" students. He meets a girl, Katarina, who has plans for their own experiment in understanding time. She's recently orphaned. They both take responsibility for another boy, August, who killed his parents. The school's experiment fails when August kills himself. Peter's experiment continues throughout his life.

  • Ess Wynspinner
    2019-03-15 02:45

    I came to this after reading Miss Smilla etc. and wow what an assault it was - I was truly and deeply unsettled by this psychological thriller. So many reviews already have most said. Peter Hoeg is brilliant and translated his works are fantastic - I would love to know what is lost and what is gained in translation of this novel. Seriously good, seriously terrifying, brilliantly written, just fantastic.

  • Tara
    2019-02-21 00:43

    First time, in a very long time, that I've felt the need to underline passages...I've kept my pencil by my side. Looking forward to more Peter Høeg.

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-03 01:47

    This book makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the horrors of boarding school, partly for its intriguing focus on time as an instrument of power. One begins questioning one's obedience to the clock, and questioning the culture of achievement in general. I had already been thinking a lot about how my own anxiety about time was affecting my interactions with my children, and had started to reject the tyranny of schedules, as far as children are concerned. As I read, my vague misgivings turned into an impulse to mount an outright fight against clocks. Of course time is only one of the devil’s tools to distract us from pouring out our lives for the sake of innocent little ones, and the heart of the book is not really about time but self-sacrificial love.

  • char
    2019-02-21 03:53

    peter høeg can i kin you

  • Liedzeit
    2019-03-14 06:00

    Sehr zäh. Langweilig, wird erst am Schluß überhaupt erträglich, wo der Icherzähler berichtet, was seit den Ereignissen passiert ist. Eine Schülergeschichte.

  • Holly
    2019-03-01 07:55

    A few interesting ideas and Høeg has definitely presented me a lot of things to think about and new perspectives, but overall this book, especially towards the end, felt like a diary of notes where Høeg has written all his opinions and thoughts on certain things and tried to express them all in this fictional novel but instead of making the reader value what he is saying, to me, makes it feel like he's just trying to get his opinions out despite their irrelevance to the story making it a bit mumbo-jumbo (muddled) and long.

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-20 04:35

    I chose this for my most recent book club selection, based on the synopsis, the high rating, and the fact that I'd seen and loved the movie Smilla's Sense of Snow. I don't wish to belabor points already raised by so many reviewers before me, so I'll just comment on how I experienced it. To be candid, I didn't like it very much the first time (though I wouldn't have said it was bad). Because I had to lead the upcoming book club discussion, I read it again, and the second time through I really enjoyed it. So what was the problem the first time? I think I did have expectations based on what I'd read "about" the book that caused me to be looking for things that weren't there. I think I thought it would be more of a thriller, and I also thought the adults and institutions would be more sinister. Instead, I think the book points out the sinister aspects of things that many of us are already familiar with to some extent. So it wasn't as shocking as I expected. Another issue that discolored my initial read, was the structural combination of jumping chronologically, jumping to different settings/characters, and the sparse style. Hoeg doesn't use much detailed descriptions, and the flow seems to be mostly guided by the narrator's stream of consciousness. I felt confused much of the time - Who ARE these people? WHERE are we? WHEN are we? Yet, on the second read, I would not have changed any of these points. The sparse style is part of the beauty of this book. To paraphrase one of the characters, you have to listen to the pauses between Hoeg's words. What he doesn't say, his decisions on what to leave out, or leave to the reader's imagination, is just as important as what he does say. The final problem, of course, is the discourses on the nature of time, which are strewn lightly throughout Parts 1 and 2, but seem to make up the bulk of Part 3. (There are three "Parts" total.) As others have said, at times these are interesting and seem pertinent, but often they are tedious, boring, and severely interrupt the flow of the story. The only excuse I can imagine for keeping them is that they are "true to the character". Despite these difficulties, I have to rate this at 4 stars, which is high on my personal scale. During my second read, since I knew what to expect (or what not to expect) and I was no longer confused, the many positive points of this novel came through. The book deals with a long list of topics which are relevant to our times. The characters are interesting and sympathetic. The style is beautiful in its apparent simplicity. I expect that, like many great works of art, each succeeding experience will reveal new depths. I would recommend it, but note that it is not for everyone. Although I found it to be uplifting in the end, many of my fellow book club members found it to be too sad and depressing throughout. If you are looking solely for entertainment, you might skip this one. If you enjoy something that makes you think, definitely give this a chance!

  • Angela Mitchell
    2019-02-21 01:37

    I love Peter Hoeg, who writes these odd, distinct, and incredibly memorable characters.I discovered Borderliners after reading Hoeg's mainstream hit Smilla's Sense of Snow, and it's a gorgeous book -- at times a slightly dense and difficult read, but it's ultimately become one of my all-time favorites. With inspired dashes of both Einstein and Darwin, Borderliners is a hugely rewarding book in spite of its occasional dryness, although I should warn you that it's not nearly as accessible or humorous as Hoeg's wonderful Smilla (which partnered a tough-talking, misanthropic and brilliant Greenlandic woman against a mystery she was compelled to solve against overwhelming odds).However, what Borderliners does, and does well, is bring back the here-and-now feelings of adolescence, the longings and fears, the ways in which everything feels more important than it ever will again. Smilla may have been laugh-out-loud funny on occasion, but there's nothing funny about a rocky adolescence, a fact Hoeg's teenaged characters know all too well. They're intense, intelligent, and pragmatic even in the face of feeling that now is all that matters. (At one lovely and memorable moment, for instance, a character remembers, "That kiss was everything -- it was everything.") Ironically, Hoeg's characters in the novel aren't imagining things and do actually uncover some diabolical secrets at their harsh boarding school, but the school's secrets are too dark and too clever to spoil for you here. Ultimately, Borderliners is about survivors, adolescence, the urge for survival, and ultimately about the effect the mind may have on time. The book deftly explores how, because we can't let go of the past, it can't let go of us, either. There are surprises, both exciting and sad, that arrive in the book's climactic chapters. I remember being so unexpectedly moved at one point that I had to put the book down.I highly recommend Borderliners for anyone seeking a literate and intelligent book off the beaten path, and which mixes ideas from Einstein and Darwin as freely as it mixes metaphors. It's an unforgettable and strange story, beautifully told, and hard to forget.

  • Ruth
    2019-02-19 08:37

    I read this a few years ago and remember enough of it to keep my eye out for more Peter Hoeg books whenever I am lucky enough to be in the vicinity of a book shop. It doesn't hurt that he is Scandavian as I have been on a Nordic craze as of late.Borderliners is not an easy book to read. In places it is difficult to follow, which makes sense because our narrator is a child, who though bright is, as the back cover says, damaged (what does that mean, anyway, 'damaged'?) and he is in a situation which is unclear to him, where he strives to figure out the rules, and comes so close.... There is a strange kind of impersonal abuse (I'm doing this because that's the rules -- learn from it).Rules is one question our narrator wants to understand; "What is time?" is the other. There is a lot of discussion of time. I had thought I more or less understood what time was, but after reading this I am not so sure. (I was reminded of this book when I heard the NPR podcast where scientists attempt to explain time to children One answer was "time is what keeps everything from happening at once" which then reminded me of a line in a Terry Pratchett novel -- brownie points to the first person that can tell me which one -- The days went by one by one. Way back at the beginning of the multiverse they had tried going all at one but it hadn't worked very well.) I am fascinated by rules, and that got me going. I was not so fascinated by time, which changed during the course of this book and thus I can say this book changed me and my outlook on life. Here's an example of what I mean: Even then one sensed that it must be a rule. That time could not be something that passed all by itself but was something one had to hold one to. And that, when one let go of it, that moment was very significant.See 'my quotes' for what other specific passages spoke to me.

  • Camille McCarthy
    2019-02-23 06:37

    Peter Hoeg's style is simple and yet very deep. This one in particular felt effortless in the way he continuously jumped around in the story line, and yet it wasn't confusing, it just felt like a friend confiding their life's story to you.I greatly admire Hoeg's subtlety. He shows, in this book, the horrors of rationalizing everything, of judging, of measuring, and of discipline. The school that the characters attend is frightening not because it is so different from the schools we all went to, but because it is so similar. Everything is regulated and everyone is watched constantly. It also touches on how trying to "normalize" children who are different, even delinquent, can be violent.A lot of interesting perspectives on time and on life. As always, Peter Hoeg gives the reader a lot to ponder. I will definitely reread this book at some point, because I'm sure there's much to be gained from reading it a second time, and I almost never reread anything.Peter Hoeg remains one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend this book.

  • Femke
    2019-02-26 02:57

    Simpelweg een vreemd boek. Bizar, verwarrend, met momenten een beetje saai, maar toch intrigerend en op een bepaalde manier goed geschreven. Verwacht je niet aan wat er op de achterflap omschreven staat, het boek gaat dan wel over probleemjongeren die opgenomen worden in het normaal onderwijs, je komt er vrij weinig over te weten. Met flarden tekst die niet altijd evenveel steek houden, plotselinge veranderingen van setting, vage omschrijvingen van gebeurtenissen en weinig diepgang in de personages, leest het zeker niet als een vlotte roman. Maar, de filosofische opvattingen over het begrip tijd - wat eigenlijk centraal staat in het hele verhaal - zijn zeer boeiend, het laatste hoofdstuk is verhelderend en het is een boek dat ik ooit zal terugnemen om grondiger te lezen, als de tijd het toelaat tenminste.

  • Steve
    2019-03-21 03:37

    Low 2. This roman a clef places so much emphasis on the author's philosophical treatment of the nature of time that the characters and plot remain in the shadows and are never fully drawn. Hoeg contrives a plot which has three emotionally scarred children placed in an academy serving as a front for a social darwinist experiment to fictionalise his own childhood experiences of social services, and to moralise on how adults can institutionalise a conceot such as time to condition children to expected patterns of behaviour. However, the fate of his protagonists becomes of less importance than the need to voice his arguments.

  • Donatella
    2019-03-04 08:57

    E' un libro terribile, una storia di piccoli e grandi soprusi da parte di un mondo che accetta o rifiuta i bambini in base a discutibili parametri e ne considera alcuni adatti ed altri non adatti. Uno strano esperimento "scientifico" estrapola dal secondo gruppo alcuni bambino definiti "quasi adatti".Storia raggelante e, purtroppo, con precisi riferimenti autobiografici.

  • Isadora Goudsblom
    2019-03-19 09:01

    I loved this book, it was deeply enthralling and beautifully poetic. However, it was also very somber and whilst not reading it I found myself wondering off into the world of the borderliners, which trust me, is not joyous.

  • Alison Fogarty
    2019-03-10 05:48

    Good in parts. Dragged in others.

  • Stephen Hayes
    2019-02-19 07:49

    Borderliners is the second book about "abnormal" children I've read this week, the first one being The outcast. The Outcast was about my contemporaries, those who were at school in the 1950s. Borderliners is about those at school in the 1970s, and I remember the 1970s quite well. What do I remember about the 1970s? I saw the film If. I was on the board of governors of St George's School in Windhoek. I was manager of several farm schools in Northern Natal. Borderliners is set in Denmark. What did I know about Denmark? When I was at school our geography teacher Steyn Krige told us the story of a South African visitor to Denmark who threw an empty packet out of a car window. After driving several miles a traffic cop stopped him and gave him the packet and said "You dropped this." "Oh I don't want it," said the South African. "Denmark doesn't want it either," said the traffic cop.In the 1960s I was a fan of Kierkegaard, and was impressed by the bourgeois morality and dull conformity of people in Denmark that he described. But that was in the 19th century. In the 1970s my impression of Denmark was that it was free. It was the model of the "permissive society". But Borderliners gives an entirely different impression. Both books reminded me of my own schooldays, but Borderliners impressed me by how regimented it was, far more than any school I attended in the 1950s -- especially the lengths they went to to stop pupils talking to each other or having friends, with never-ending surveillance. It was 1984. Could a Danish school in the permissive society really have been like that? No social interaction permitted. Pupils forbidden to talk to each other or even be seen together?This is never explained in the book. Perhaps for a child at school, it needs no explanation or interpretation, but the book is written from the point of view of an adult looking back and an adult would try to make sense of childhood from the point of view of the wider world. So I'm left wondering why a school in Denmark in the 1970s should be worse, far worse, than a concentration camp. In a concentration camp people are locked away and for the most part forgotten about. The aim is to isolate them so that they can't influence others. The perimeter is guarded to prevent them from escaping, but there is not, as in this school this constant surveillance, this prohibition on talking to other pupils, a kind of solitary confinement in the company of others. In the book Peter Høeg links it all to a perception of time. I suppose in any school one becomes aware of time. There is a timetable for classes and other activities, so one's life is regulated by bells ringing to mark the end of one activity and the commencement of another. But no theory of time can explain the concentration camp character of this school. So it seemed a very strange book. It also seems to be at least semi-autobiographical, with a good measure of teenage solipsism. That I could identify with. It seems that many people toy with solipsism in their teenage years. Perhaps all do, or perhaps only those who go to boarding schools where time is strictly regulated.

  • Lupo
    2019-03-16 01:40

    Bellissimo, squarcia e espone il mondo di ipocrisia e crudeltà intorno ai ragazzi "difficili", anche in un paese che consideriamo tra i più civili. Ma l'Uomo non vuol capire che le differenze sono la ricchezza, che la banalità della normalità (sempre che questa parola abbia senso, e non lo ha, anche da un punto di vista sessuale) porta al male delle persecuzioni, fino ai campi di sterminio.Un libro crudele e da leggere, che avvicino a "la città e i cani" di Vargas Llosa per lo spirito che via aleggia: la violenza degli istituti di istruzione chiusi (in V.L. si tratta di un collegio per ragazzi che aspirano alla carriera militare).

  • Cyd
    2019-03-19 02:40

    Disturbing, at times almost too vague, but compelling. Sort of a postmodern Dickensian story of an orphan's struggle to understand himself and his traumatic childhood, as well as his significance in the larger world.

  • Bram Van Langen
    2019-02-28 07:59

    heel goed en ook schokkend. alleen die filosofische verhandeling over de tijd hadden van mij niet gehoeven

  • William
    2019-02-26 05:55