Jo Nesbo: Writer & Rock Star

With work as diverse as a footballer, journalist, stockbroker, taxi driver and rock star; Jo Nesbo arrived late to his most successful career as an internationally acclaimed writer. His series of novels feature the troubled Norwegian detective, Harry Hole; who has many personal problems as well as a vicious bunch of psychopathic killers to deal with. The series has been internationally successful, selling seventeen million copies worldwide, “My Harry Hole novels have been translated into more than forty languages, but I still get a kick out of it when a book arrives in the mail and the only word I recognize is my own name on the cover,’ he said.

For many years Jo has been playing guitar and singing alongside his brother Knut in the Norwegian rock band Di Derre, which translates roughly to, ‘Those Guys.’ Music and performing are obviously still very important to him, despite his literary success.

Jo is an enigmatic character, charming, yet aloof. He is known to be exceptionally private about his personal life. Many readers and critics have speculated on the similarities between his fictional detective and himself.  Both seem to be very concerned about political and social problems in Norway. His novel, ‘Redbreast,’ contains a character with psychopathic, right-wing Nazi sympathies. There appears to be a sense of duality, in the seemingly idyllic society in Norway, and its violent undercurrents, which date back to the Second World War.

Jo Nesbo’s interest in this subject is not entirely surprising as his parents fought on opposing sides during the Second World War. His mother was a member of Norway’s Resistance movement: his father fought for the Germans. It is an unusual family history, even for an enigmatic writer; but then nothing about Jo Nesbo or his alter ego, detective Harry Hole, is predictable. “Harry is like all of us; we fall apart. The only question is how fast,” he said.

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