“The first time I walked into the room I turned back almost at once.”
The Room is a story about a man named Björn who was recently transferred to a job at a place called “The Authority.” He is intent on succeeding and develops a plan that includes carefully timed breaks. During one of his breaks he discovers a small, secret room that becomes his refuge from the open office space and his co-workers. When he is in the room, Björn feels a great sense of calm, relaxation and focus. The problem is that no one else can see this room. All they see is a dazed Björn staring at a wall. Finding this very strange and creepy, they want to put a stop to this bizarre behaviour and have him fired. Björn however, is not going down without a fight and uses his secret room to turn the tables in an attempt to be the one that is proven right.
Written by Swedish actor Jonas Karlsson, The Room is an interesting and strange little book. At just under 200 pages it is a very quick, easy and entertaining read. The story is entirely set in the office environment of “The Authority”, where we are introduced to a number of characters that are representative of the types of people found in a typical office. Main character Björn is a curious choice of protagonist. He is not interested in making friends and believes he is smarter than everyone. While he does not always come across as particularly likeable, his situation makes us want to root for him. The Room has been described as a take on corporate culture and conformity, giving us a glance into office interactions and the culture surrounding the office workspace. The addition of the secret room makes the story quite compelling as it creates a level of intrigue and mystery. The author’s writing is beautiful in its simplicity and directness and provides us with an amusing and wonderfully unique story.
Favourite quote: “Inhibited people don’t see the world the way it really is. They only see what they themselves want to see. They don’t see the nuances. The little differences.”