Djupa Ro is unlike anything I've read by Lisa Bjärbo so far. my first encounter with her work was through Det är så logiskt alla fattar utom du, a light young adult book. Since then I've followed Björbo sporadically on her blog, and then read another book of hers,Vi måste sluta ses på det här sättet. While not quite young adult, it, too, was a rather light read.
Djupa Ro is anything but that. In this book, falling between the young adult and the new adult genre, Bjärbo explores the strong bonds of friendship and the mentalities that often occur in small towns. When Jonathan dies, the four friends returns to their small home town for the funeral. After high school they went on their separate ways in different directions of their lives and are now in their early twenties. Through our narrator David's eyes we learn about the nature of their friendships and how Jonathan's death leaves an impact on each of them, both for better and worse.
The lack of action in this book does not cause it to drag. It is in the details where this book's strength lies. It's in how Paula and Ludde leaves an empty space for Jonathan to sit despite his absence. It's in how suddenly different roads are taken to avoid places. And David is the perfect narrator for this task. He's always been one of the calmer one in the group, not loud like Paula, or full of energy like Ludde. While David is not likable at times, he is aware of his flaws. Not to mention that he finds himself facing some of his uglier flaws that he's so far been unaware of.
Even though this book is told from David's point of view, he never becomes the full focus of the book. No, that stays with how Jonathan's death affects all of them and the entire town. Of course, David's subtle character growth is fascinating in itself, but the atmosphere that Bjärbo builds up throughout the book is even more fascinating and on point. Quite brilliant, truth to be told.
As said, it is different from Bjärbo's previous books, which is a good thing. Her writing shines through each page and with the topic at hand her characterization is better and more interesting than the characters of her previous books.