Chapter 9 Men Walking into Woods. Boredom, Nihilism, and the Characters of Erlend Loe

In: The Culture of Boredom
Martin Demant Frederiksen
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This chapter takes as its point of departure the work of the Norwegian novelist and film critic Erlend Loe. Although often satirical in their vantage point, Loe’s novels provide critical views on contemporary Scandinavian society and how people, often middle-aged men, grow increasingly frustrated and bored with the schedules and routines of the modern welfare state. As a recourse, the characters of several of his novels abruptly leave their daily lives and move into isolated forests to live in solitude and stillness, thus trying to escape their sensation of boredom through nothingness. In the chapter, I focus mainly on the two novels Doppler and Fakta om Finland [Facts about Finland] and unfold the traits and actions of the characters found in these. I do so in relation to recent anthropological perspectives on boredom (Musharbash; O’Neill; Frederiksen) to engage in a discussion of the relations between nothingness, meaninglessness, and boredom.

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