The Paris of the North
by Christian Lloyd

"Mr. Rubin, isn't it? We've done all we can for your friend. It's touch and go whether he'll pull through. But we're not ruling out a full recovery... not at this stage."

Contemporary gang warfare in Denmark is the background of this action- and issues-packed story. The small country is the setting for subjects ranging from national identity, to education, to memories of family and friends, to the war in Afghanistan. Significantly, one of the characters studies Anthropology and another is a veteran of the Afghanistan war. Issues of nationality are a main theme and echo issues in America: when is a person whose family immigrated to Denmark considered to belong in Denmark? Who are enfranchised? Who are victims? The answer to the last question is, potentially everyone.

The author directs readers to two videos (available on YouTube) that provide some background about the situation: "hell's angels Denmark" and "Denmark's gang war." The book, read after the viewing of the videos, leaves a reader with a potent sense of the futility of violent conflict (If ever there were any doubt.). As yet more examples of intercommunity strife are documented, the reader is inclined to want to shout, "Have groups of people learned nothing from all the wars and inter-group conflict throughout history?"

The book is powerful, difficult, and necessary. Readers will learn yet again that bigotry and suspicion breed a need to band together for protection against the "enemy." The result is outbreaks of violence even in small, apparently peaceful places.

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