Wednesday, April 14, 2010

DATW Week: The Setting of Oslo in The Devil's Star

Yesterday, I raved about the book that I read for Jen's Book Thoughts' Detectives Around the World Week. It was called THE DEVIL'S STAR by Jo Nesbo, and I really can't get this book out of my mind!

As part of the Detectives Around the World Week, Jen has asked each of us to write a post where we focus on the detective's setting. In my review, I mentioned that Nesbo did a fantastic job of using the setting of Oslo, Norway to set the tone for his novel. And I even stated that I considered Oslo to be another character in the story.

While I realized that the setting of Oslo would probably be an important part of THE DEVIL'S STAR, I admit that I didn't realize how crucial a role the city would end up being in this book. (I should have had a clue when they author included a map of Oslo at the beginning of the book because it's not exactly typical to see a map in a thriller.) In fact, Hole ending up using a map of Oslo to predict the locations for future murders.

I admit that prior to reading THE DEVIL'S STAR, I knew little, if anything, about Oslo. However, Nesbo described the city in such vivid detail that I found myself wanting to learn more about the city (and even see some pictures.) I thought I'd share with you a little bit of what I learned.

During my research about the book and Oslo, I was extremely excited to find this interesting video where Jo Nesbo not only talks about his inspiration for THE DEVIL'S STAR, but he also talks about how important the setting of Oslo is in this particular book.

Here's are a few facts about Oslo (from Wikipedia):

* Oslo is the capital and largest city in Norway.

* Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental center of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping.

* In 2009 Oslo regained its status as the world's most expensive city.

* As of 2009, the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1.4 million. The population currently increases at a record rate of over 2% annually, making it one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.

Throughout the book, Nesbo mentions various Oslo landmarks quite often. One in particular was The Oslo Opera House which wasn't yet completed when this story took place. Here's a picture of this gorgeous building:

He also makes reference to Bjorvika which is a neighborhood in the Sentrum borough of Oslo. Since the 2000s, Bjorvika has been undergoing an urban redevelopment transforming it from a container port.

Another location that Nesbo mentioned in THE DEVIL'S STAR was the Oslo Central Station. Oslo Central Station is the main railway station in Oslo and the largest railway station on the entire Norwegian railway system.

One last historical landmark that Nesbo mentioned in this book is the Trinity Church. The Trinity Church was inaugurated in 1858 and is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Oslo.

There are tons of references to other locales like neighborhoods, streets, apartment buildings, bars, restaurants, hospitals, and churches (to name just a few), but I thought I'd just share these four to give you sneak peek at some of Oslo's sites. I had a great time learning about Oslo, and I hope you enjoyed it too. I really think seeing even a few images of the city brought it to life for me!


rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a great post! I loved seeing the sites of Oslo - thanks!

Beth F said...

Fun post and I loved the photos. I love Scandinavia!

holdenj said...

What great research and pics! Thanks for the info.

bermudaonion said...

I had no idea Oslo is the most expensive city in the world! I guess I'll have to save for a while before I can go there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, Julie. I am very interested to read this series. I think that a lot of mystery readers are getting to know Sweden from Stieg Larsson's books. I also recently read a book that took place in Iceland and I want to read more about that country. Norway is a new setting for me. My knowledge comes from the Norway pavilion at Epcot in Disneyworld! LOL

Serena said...

Oslo is on my list of must-see cities. I have family from that part of the world, though they mostly live in the neighboring country of Finland.

Thanks for sharing this great setting with us

Chèli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chèli said...

I've been looking for a book for my European challenge that was set in Norway. This might suit the bill.

Thanks so much for the info.

Cheli's Shelves

Tribute Books said...

Great pictures of Oslo, thanks!

Jen Forbus said...

Julie this is amazing! I love it. The video of Nesbø is a fabulous addition, too.

Thank you so much for the time you put into this. It really brings Oslo home for those of us who haven't ever seen it...and may never. There's something that changes for a reader when they understand the setting of book, probably because it's simply more natural to imagine the setting in your mind as you read.

Thanks again. This is wonderful!

Chris said...

Very cool. Oslo is one of those cities I would love to visit. Great post!