Posted by gaylistbookreviews
Author: Hans M. Hirschi
Publisher: Yaree AB
Length: 264 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: In an isolated mountain town in Norway, Haakon dreams of traveling the world, pursuing adventure, seeing great cities, finding love. His very first trip to London with friends from university offers much promise, yet soon after tragedy strikes. Still young, and mourning the loss of his lover, Haakon is not ready to give up on his dream, so when a rich Englishman offers him the chance to join him on a tour of the world, Haakon takes it, daring to believe that his dream is finally coming true…but at what price?
The Fallen Angels of Karnataka is a novel filled with adventure, life’s hard-learned lessons, loss, despicable evil, and finally, love and redemption.
Review: Possibly the best book written by Hans Hirschi to date. Hans has never been afraid to tackle real life issues with his characters within any of his books, and in this case he shows no signs of that changing anytime soon. With ‘The Fallen Angels of Karnataka’ Hans takes his characters and his readers on a heart wrenching journey around the world. I like what Hans did here, in parts this story is quite shocking and certainly not for the faint hearted. What I liked is what these characters go through, how they cope, their experiences, their reactions and what they do about it. The story is tragic, frightening, real, and yet there is a good ending despite all the drama.
The story starts with Haakon Olafsen as a teenager, making plans and dreaming of his future. Here we learn of Haakon’s childhood, about his upbringing, his parents and home town of Roso in Norway where he grows up. From there the story takes us on an adventure to the present with Haakon as an adult. I liked Haakon, he is sweet, adventurous, loves the outdoors and learning about the world beyond his home town. He has dreams of travel and we get to watch him grow up into a wonderful man. Haakon goes through some tough stuff, he gets hurt emotionally and he loses love, but all the while he tries to keep a level head through it all. He blames himself for the actions of others that are completely out of his control, but in the end he does what he feels is the right thing do, the only way he can.
In all of Hans’ novels there are many characters and within this book it is no exception. On Haakon’s journey he meets many people, but it’s never too many. Hans always finds the right balance and interjects them well into the storyline. Another thing I’ve come to notice is that he manages to give the reader plenty of information about each character. You become knowledgeable about each character which produces a real person and easier to connect with. Some of the characters are scary, evil, murderers, selfish, manipulative, dangerous, uncontrollable and guarding while others are kind-hearted, selfless, loving, romantic and naïve.
Now because this is a heavy story, you, the reader, get to travel the world with Haakon and his friends. Without going into detail with who they all are I won’t divulge how they come into Haakons’ life. What I will tell you is this story contains child slavery, child abuse and paedophilia. It also tells the story of a young man finding his way in life, the challenges of being gay, HIV, AIDS, leaving home, love and romance. Haakon’s story is painful, heartbreaking, endearing and breathtaking.
My first thought was ‘Oh my God’, Hans what have you let yourself in for! We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you’re either very brave or very stupid’ but I think Hans has been extremely brave. For some he may have crossed the line here and feel it is distasteful. Others will see it as I do, a good story showing how we get through life and the experiences that fall into our laps, whether we planned them that way or not. Hans has touched on a subject that most gay men would run a million miles from, it’s not pretty. Hans is not afraid to confront the bigotry, the discrimination, the crudeness and any other immoral ideals directed at our LGBTQ friends and family members that comes with homophobia. Hans rightly states here through his characters that our sexuality and gender plays no part in the harm, we as humans, inflict on others.
This book is well written and the research is profound. Through this read the issues of HIV and AIDS are highlighted. We learn of the fears and the reactions of others towards those infected, especially way back in the eighties when it was brought to the worlds attention.
This tale also brings awareness to one of the countries where children are most vulnerable, with a corrupt system where children are forced into slavery and trafficked. They are taken forcibly from their families or sold by families who are unable to care for their child due to poverty.
Warning: Although there are no graphically detailed crude scenes written in this book, some scenes may cause distress to the reader.
Reviewed by Teddy
Posted in Teddy
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