Bjorn is a compulsive, exacting bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works--a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his coworkers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn's bizarre behavior eventually leads his coworkers to try to have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room. Author Jonas Karlsson doesn't leave a word out of place in this brilliant, bizarre, delightful take on how far we will go--in a world ruled by conformity--to live an individual and examined life.
The beauty in this book lies in its ambiguity. There is a clouded quality to THE ROOM's intended purpose that envelops the protagonist's plight in a shroud of mystery.
The stereotypical office environment with all the requisite accouterments and menial busybody duties are accounted within the anonymous agency setting. The dalliances doggedly executed by the office employees are easily transferable to any white collar environment. The buzz words, coffee breaks, subtle and overt politicking are realistic with a twist - Bjorn, an anomaly from reality that breads a strange form of undefined fiction.
Author Jonas Karlsson really captures the essence of the fishbowl-like setting and expands it to incorporate something that creates more questions than what it answers. Personally, it worked for me on all levels. From Bjorn's obsession with the 'room' to his co-workers reaction, to the fatalistic ending that can be interpreted in many forms - I couldn't stop reading and lapped up the story in a near single sitting.
You can listen to the author reading from a passage of the book here (link provided courtesy of the publisher):