Jørgen is living alone, detached from his family and society in general, with only one real friend. Jøregn is emotionally damaged and dealing with frequent panic attacks, haunted by memories of his childhood.
One day he arrives home from work and is confused by the fact that a young man, who is unresponsive when spoken to, is standing outside his house – until the man begins to have an epileptic fit. Jørgen kindly takes the stranger into his home and cares for him until morning.
Geir is sixteen and spends much of his time on his own, while his dad works offshore, with his dog, Charo, for company. Geir is an outcast too; bullied at school for being “the freak who has seizures” and in a sense it is this loneliness that initially connects him and Jørgen.
From the morning Geir (innocently) wakes up in Jørgen’s bed, the two meet coincidentally on several occasions and neither can deny the spark between them. Yet, Jørgen has to learn to let someone into his life, physically and emotionally, and Geir has to deal with his father’s hesitance about his relationship with a man six years older – and the fact that he now has to move to Oslo for a year.
I chose More Than Anything as my Around the World Challenge Week novel because I have read many stories set in Australia, the United States, and other parts of the world – but never Norway. As T.T. Kove is a native Norwegian, I was curious how she would represent her country in her writing.
One thing that Kove definitely conveys is the cold! For the majority of the novel, Jørgen and Geir are wrapped up in padded coats, scarves, and gloves when they are outside and though the sun was shining in the UK when I was reading, Kove’s descriptions of the Norwegian weather made me want to snuggle in a blanket!
There were times when I would have liked more of a sense of the country and I was naively surprised when More Than Anything’s characters were eating lasagne, tortillas, and an “English breakfast.” However, had I not been reading More Than Anything as part of the Around the World Challenge Week, I probably would not have considered this and it does not affect the depth of Jørgen and Geir’s characters and the reader’s emotional response to their story.
More Than Anything is not fast-paced, nor erotic – although there are some extremely passionate moments. Kove’s novel is intense and she consistently shows a real understanding and sensitivity for the problems her protagonists face.
I am epileptic and though the fits I suffer from are different from Geir’s, I really respect the fact that Kove does not shy away from the topics of incontinence and very personal side effects of anti-epileptic medication.
Perhaps Jørgen’s journey is the most complex though. Kove is very careful in how she approaches his story and it is not until the later chapters of More Than Anything that Jørgen gives Geir a more detailed disclosure of his past. Despite this, we still understand why Jørgen’s outlook is so dark and his relationship with Geir is a relief.
More Than Anything is a tender and sweet novel that proves that love truly does win and I know that Jørgen and Geir will touch other readers’ hearts in the same way that they have mine.
I am excited to read more books in this series!
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for Around the World Challenge Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Riptide Publishing. One lucky winner will receive a selection of print Advanced Review Copies of Riptide books before they are even released (non-US winners will get ebook copies upon release instead). Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Around the World Challenge Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!