Borderliners by Peter Hoeg

I hope any Hoeg fans of my acquaintance who are writing books about school rebellions have read this, as that’s what it’s about. Specifically, three odd kids in an experimental school in 1969, trying to understand what is happening there, including why they are in the school.

It’s a strange book, full of ideas and thinking, with not all that much happening, and with a hint of the adventuring silliness of Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow. The main topic is time, but there is lots more on parenting and love and learning. I think there are ideas from areas of modern science floating around, such as the idea of observation affecting what is observed, and the titular idea about the limitations at either end of a scale, where he suggests that those in the border area are the only ones who have a chance of tearing aside the veil and understanding. Actually I think this is less referring to the fascinating and fertile boundary area between chaotic and ordered regimes, as I would like to think, and more a kind of old hippy notion that only outsiders can see the truth. In all honesty I half suspect that most of the ideas in here more realistically reduce to that than anything more substantial.

But still, it’s a pleasure to read a book that isn’t much like anything else I’d read, and is as full of intense thought as this.