Only One Life Paperback
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As in her previous outstanding novel Call Me Princess, Blaedel is more interested in exploring the tortured psyches of her subjects than providing the reader with a fast-paced narrative. She wants to tell the story behind the story, to see where people are coming from and where they dream of going. She doesn't seem to seek to impress us with her twists and turns in the plot, as much as to make us think; to think about the world that's changing all around us, to consider seriously the issue of immigration and explore our capabilities to adapt in these new realities.
Her heroes and heroines are not extraordinary people; they are as common as they come. They live ordinary lives, lives full of small joys and great sorrows, lives which even at the best of times look unfulfilled, robbed of any potential for happiness. Samra is a girl that arrived in a new land, with different habits, but who tries hard to adapt, despite the fact that her family doesn't seem to want her to do so. Dicta, her best friend, leads a mostly carefree life, since she has rich parents who more or less let her be, even though she's no older than fifteen. Louise Rick, the cop, is a highly intelligent yet sad woman, who tries to find solace in her job and in helping other people out. Her friend, Camilla, is a stubborn journalist, who's trying to recover from a recent break-up, do the best she can about her son Markus, and of course excel at her work.
There are quite a few other people -mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and lovers, in this story- and there's drama all around. And that's exactly what makes the book so special. The people are the story, not the crimes. The crimes just serve to kick-start the process of this long journey of discovery that will lead the main characters time and again into dark places, while it will also show them that in the end not everything is lost, there's still hope in the world. Blaedel tackles the big issues of today with an open mind, and in doing so she has to give her heroes a human face. Nobody is perfect. They all have their weaknesses, they all every now and then do things that they regret and they all try desperately to understand each other, even though sometimes there's no way of making that happen.
How can people from a Muslim country find their way and start a new life in a world so much different from their own? How do they forget their traditions and their codes of honor? How do they integrate into an immoral, at least in their eyes, society? And how can the locals accept these outsiders? Do they feel threatened by them or do they really welcome them as who they truly are? Could it be that the only things that keep society from falling apart, of social tensions rising, are observing some codes of silence and every now and then turning a blind eye?
It takes a crime to burst this ideal world bubble, and another to bring it to the brink of destruction.
Only One Life is a good police procedural that tells a great story, but most of all it's a novel with a conscience, and you can't say that for every book that hits the bookshelves these days. A lot of those books try to feed on the fear of people for the unknown, while this one just tries to understand that fear and put it into context. A job well done.
When a young girl is found in a watery grave of Holbraek Fjord , Inspector Louise Rick is called due to her experience, knowledge and tactfulness with immigrants. The dead girl, as it turned out, is Samra, who lived in a new country, while her parents enforced old traditions. Samra's mother maintains that she did nothing to "deserve" an honor killing, but Inspector Rick can detect that there is more than meets the eye.
Only One Life by Sara Blædel lives up to the previous novel, Call Me Princess, which I read about a year ago and enjoyed as well. The book is exciting and the characters are well written and continue to build up and expand from the previous book (even though I understand that there are more untranslated books).
The book touches on some relevant topics, such as honor killing, social intolerance and sexual based crimes. The author explores these subjects, and more, without forcing her own morality or ideology down the readers' throats, which is a big plus for me. I love to read about different cultures and ideas, but I dislike absolutes. Ms. Blædel stays away from giving advice but supplying plenty of material to think about during and after reading.
There are several things I like about Ms. Blædel's work, the social aspect and characterization come immediately to mind. The author writes about a conscious society, while not perfect it certainly isn't the dog-eat-dog world which we read about in other books. I also like the character of Louise Rick, not a classic hero nor is she an anti-hero, just a simple working professional who makes mistakes, gets emotional, sometimes frustrated with her jobs, colleagues and her friends.
Basically, a human being.
Only One Life is an intelligent mystery, with a murder as a device to tell a story about people while bringing up some important questions. The book is solid, well translated and readable which is an amazing feat due to the heavy subjects it tries to deal with.
In their search for suspects, investigators must deal with values that are initially incomprehensible and repugnant in order to understand the mind of a killer. Strong emotion could blind individual investigators, but team members balance each other out and keep the investigation open and fair.
The choices of the women and their consequences in their family is the underlying current in this mystery story. Louise Rick is a gifted investigator who works through the family and cultural tangles to solve this crime. A clear, insightful, and exciting read.