«If I’m being perfectly honest, there’s nothing more cathartic than feeling the strike of Your own fist against the chin of an idiot. Not because I enjoy hurting others. And not even because I love a brawl. But because someone has to fight back.»
Herman has knocked down a boy who turns out to be a friend of the family. When Herman refuses to apologise, he gets reported for assault. But why should he take all the blame? Herman never fights people who aren’t asking for trouble.
Then up pops Silje, who has heard that Herman is a badass, and who has a list of names of people who deserve a smack in the mouth.
The Only Thing I Owe You is a Beating presents violence in a way we have not seen before in youth literature, and has something to say about what’s behind news headlines about violence and beefs between boys and young men.
The evidence that Arne Svingen is getting tough this time arrives as early as the first sentence. The Only Thing I Owe You is a Beating is not his first book about frustrated youth, but it’s one of his best.
An important book, not simply because it is tremendously well written ... If you want to try understanding what’s going on inside the mind of one of those musclemen who turn the night-time unsafe, Arne Svingen’s new book is a good place to start.
Arne Svingen strikes a blow for vulnerable and aggressive youths.
5 out of 6 stars
Arne Svingen shifts his gaze from victim to perpetrator in what must be one of his strongest youth novels yet.