Sorry (Zoran Drvenkar)

Sorry is a novel by Zoran Drvenkar. It was translated from German to English with the same title, but I read the German original.
Finished on: 27.12.2016

Everybody screws up every once in a while, everybody needs to apologize every once in a while, too. But saying sorry is hard, both when you mean it and when you don’t. So Kris, his brother Wolf, and their friends Frauke and Tamara come up with an idea that sounds so unlikely, it just has to work: they found a company that can be hired to apologize for people. Things are going great until they’re hired by Lars Meybach. He sends them to the scene of a murder to apologize to the body – and to get rid of it. And he knows everything about the foursome, so they see no way out. But that’s only the beginning of Meybach’s plans for them.

Sorry is not a book I would have picked at a bookstore. I’m just not much of a crime reader. But I got it as a present and decided to give it a try. It was definitely different from what I expected. It is an interestingly structured, unusual thriller.

The central conceit of the story that gets the stone rolling – the company the four friends start – is at the same time more and less innovative than it seems at first glance. In the end, they basically take over the roles of arbiters, only under a different name and with a slightly different orientation to their solutions. In any case, after the set-up the book doesn’t dwell on the company too much and I think that was a good decision.

The story it tells isn’t all that different from the usual stuff, either. At least, if you look only at the plot. What really makes Sorry stand out, though, is the way it is told. There are several perspectives and timelines that are included in the story and one of the narrators actually adresses the reader – those chapters are written in the second person, which is a rarity in itself.

I have to admit that sometimes things got a bit confusing and I felt like I would have needed a structure diagram to really follow all the intricacies of the story. And that is a little more effort than I was inspired to put into the book, maybe because it’s not my genre. And as much as I respect and admire Drvenkar’s lust for experimentation, I can’t say that I fell in love with his book.

Summarizing: Interesting, but probably wasted on me.

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