Sarah Chapman 23 February 2012 - 11:25am
A taut and well-written, but deeply disturbing and occasionally confusing, thriller by the Croatian German author Zoran Drvenkar.
If you’ve done something wrong and can’t, or won’t, apologise in person, then Sorry is for you. Set up by Kris, Fauke, Wolf and Tamara, Sorry is an agency which apologises on your behalf. Preferring to deal with business matters, such as wrongful dismissal or false accusations, the four friends are understandably unprepared to be contacted by a murderer who wants absolution for his sins. What follows is a tale of child abuse, violence, retribution and delusion, which is fascinating but sometimes hard to read, both due to the subject-matter and also the structure.
Drvenkar has woven multiple voices into his novel, with first, third and even second person narratives piling upon each other, often in the same chapter. On top of this is ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’, whose identity, and relevance, is a mystery until near the end. The style does take a little getting used to, but is effective in echoing the confusion caused by the murderer’s actions. The second person narrative is that of the murderer, which pulls the reader into the story immediately, although being addressed as ‘you’, when ‘you’ are nailing someone’s head to a wall in the first chapter is a little unnerving, to say the least.
Exploring the ethics of second-hand apologies and absolution, Sorry is a great novel, with an original concept and full of tension - but not for the faint-hearted.