New printing, mixed reviews for latest Breivik book

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Celebrity author Åsne Seierstad has just released her own book about convicted Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik that also covers his troubled childhood and the aftermath of his attacks on July 22, 2011. Reviews have been mixed, even chilly, but publishing company Kagge Forlag has already ordered a second printing.

The book, entitled “En av oss (One of us)” and billed as “en fortelling om Norge (a story about Norway),” comes just a week after another sensational book was released that tells the story of Breivik’s mother (Moren). Its author, former NRK correspondent Marit Christensen, scooped just about everyone by being granted a series of interviews with Wenche Behring Breivik over the course of a year.

Seierstad also had a brief if disputed meeting with Breivik’s mother, on her deathbed, but otherwise builds her book on interviews with acquaintances of the family and previously unreleased documents, some of them confidential, that stem from intervention of health care and juvenile authorities. The book follows the childhoods of both the terrorist and some of his victims, his attacks on July 22, 2011, his trial last year and the aftermath for the victims’ families, several of whom complained over how they were treated by the Labour Party’s youth organization AUF, which was Breivik’s main target.

Critics have questioned whether Seierstad was writing for a Norwegian or international audience, and her book already has received better reviews abroad than at home. Seierstad told newspaper Dagsavisen that her book has been met with some “coldness” in Norway, as opposed to rave reviews in Sweden. Publishers plan to promote and sell it in at least eight other countries: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Brazil, England and the US.

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