Andrew Brown

With Evil Intent

One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway


Virago 528pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Had he not murdered seventy-seven people, Anders Behring Breivik would have been an unremarkably horrible nerd. This is the gloomiest conclusion to draw from Asne Seierstad’s exhaustive study of his life. In the kindergarten phase, he did not play well with others. As a child, every gang and every game he tried to join rejected him. He may be gay, as some of his friends supposed. What is certain is the extraordinarily cold quality to the loathing of women displayed in his life and in the manifesto that he published online shortly before he launched his attack. It starts with his family: his half-sister is described as ‘infected by chlamydia after having more than forty sexual partners’; his mother ‘was infected with genital herpes by her boyfriend (my stepfather), Tore … The herpes infection went to her brain and caused meningitis … She now has the intellectual capacity of a ten-year-old.’ Seierstad adds the appalling detail that when Tore dumped his mother, Breivik bought her a vibrator. She said that she was through with sex entirely, but he kept asking, solicitously, whether she had used it yet.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,