Categories Health Personal Reading

Bad Sleep, Dreaming & Liza Marklund’s Panttivanki

I haven’t slept well the past two nights – hardly at all. I still dream every night, and when I sleep badly, seems like I remember the dreams a lot better than when I sleep well :/ Feeling tired and unenergetic, want to go and try to sleep but I know I won’t be able to and that it’s best wait for the night. Which is bloody 9 hours away :/

I’m trying to read Liza Marklund’s latest I got from the library, Panttivanki (Du gamla, du fria). I’ve liked all the other books by Marklund I’ve read, but I’m having a lot of problems with this one – I’ve been trying for at least three weeks, and I’m only at 81 pages 🙁 Normally, it’d take me maybe three or four days to read the entire damn book. A week at the most!

The main character is a Annika, an investigating journalist. She investigates and exposes human trafficing, corruption, crimes, abuse of power, injustice, evil, the truth, that sort of thing. She’s not a snob, interested in maintaining the correct image or putting out airs. She’s not political. Her husband, Thomas, is all of those, and more.

(The rest is behind the cut because of spoilers for Panttivanki (Du gamla, du fria)).

I think the reason is Thomas (or is he still ex-husband?), and the fact that some of the drama of the book  is now happening to personally to him and his colleagues in a faraway African country. He is now also a POV character in addition to Annika. In the earlier books, I didn’t particularly like him, but he wasn’t POV character or if he was, not prominently so – not in a way that cast him in such a bad light. I do remember thinking that Annika’s and Thomas’s family life seemed to much go according to his needs – or rather, he’d make decisions that to my mind were things that should have been done after consulting Annika first. Such as inviting big groups over. Instead he’d tell her around 10pm one evening “I invited my boss and his wife and my closest collegues with their wives (read: people I want to impress) to dinner tomorrow, there’ll be 12-15 people” and then leave Annika flailing magic out of thin air a huge dinner the best she can the next day – you know, in about two hours after full day of work investigating crimes, after getting the kids while he himself only brought the wine and would get home about 15 minutes before his guests. That sort of thing. I often thought they were missmatched in all possible ways, and Thomas didn’t give Annika anything back in return. 

And now, getting  a look into his mind is proving exactly as unpleasant as I suspected – and worse, he’s not even interesting! He’s just another ambitious goverment official – an analyst or something – who’s got an inflated sense of self importance, is a serial cheater – cheated on his then-wife with Annika, then married Annika and cheated on her, divorced her, got in back with her, cheats again on her, and is planning to cheat on her with yet another a female colleague of his when the book starts. And when the female collegue, terrified and exhausted after hours of marching in rough terrain, prodded and threatened by gunmen, stumbles and another one of their collegues, a man, helps Thomas to steady her,  Thomas thinks it’s improper for that other man to touch her! Please note: Thomas is a modern Swedish man. Not Arabic, Muslem or anything culturally, socially or religiously in his backround that would explain that kind of thinking. But so he thinks, because he and that women flirted and he planned to fuck her.

A real charmer.

And here’s the problem: Annika already got rid of him once – why the hell would she take him back?! Even if it was apparently a lot for the kids. I still don’t get it. I peeked at the end and I saw that she says she’s not taking him back (apparently he survives his ordeals), so at least there’s that. But still – she took him back for at least a year :/

And so I’m having difficulty respecting Annika. The main character. I haven’t necessarily liked her much, always. But I’m finding that I need to respect the main character – and not respecting just might keep me from reading…

It annoys me that this plot is stopping me from reading the book, because the other plot, Annika’s investigation, is interesting me a lot – but so far, it’s eclipsed by the Thomas-plot :/ I’m sure it’ll become more prominant as the story goes on and Annika continues her job, while waiting to hear news about what’s happening with Thomas, but getting there… ugh.


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