Book Review

Beyond The Great Indoors

Ingwar Ambjornsen


Elling and Kjell, two youngish Norwegian men, live in a flat in Oslo. Both come from difficult backgrounds and are struggling to adapt to independent normal life. They became friends in a rehabilitation unit and are the classic odd couple; Elling lived a protected life till his mother died and left with a very active imagination but also with considerable anxiety and the need to think things through; Kjell is big, bluff and no nonsense but with little ability to plan his life. They gradually expand their life from the flat’s confines, acquiring 2 kittens, rescuing a very drunk and pregnant woman, with whom Kjell forms a relationship, Elling starts writing poetry and is befriended by an older poet. The story develops through numerous humorous escapades.

Reviewed by

I enjoyed it – sweet and easy to read. Hidden lives with slightly odd people. 7
Charming – perhaps a little too sweet at times. 9
Easy read. Quite interesting conversations. Enjoyed it. Makes one think a bit more about people with anxiety. 7
Not my usual cup of tea. Touching and endearing characters – made me smile at times. 7
Difficult to keep going – quite light and meandering. 6
Enjoyed it .6
Charming men surviving with varied handicaps – insight into living with anxiety. Sweet. 8
Hated it. Most pointless book I have ever read. Didn’t find it funny at all. Discussion after was far better. 2
Excellent. Really enjoyed it. A journey. 8
Quite amusing, a little slight but with clear writing and a good story. 7