It’s the anonymity, stupid: Not-so fictional novel’s author criticised

Political thriller keeps critics guessing about author’s identity but not the real-life person the main character resembles

A newly released novel with a perhaps not so fictional premise is making some real-world waves.

The novel, "Det godes pris" (The cost of doing what's right) written by an anonymous author that goes by the pseudonym of Christian Tornbakke, portrays a social-democratic prime minister who bears a striking resemblance to current PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt. 

The book's protagonist, Ellen Wilson Kock, even has a husband who lives in London. Thorning-Schmidt's husband, Stephen Kinnock, works in London.

The plot involves a scenario that sees the publication of risqué photos taken during a period in Kock's life when she served as a drug courier. 

Not rare, but not quite fair either

While the book's publisher L&R stood by the author's anonymity, it provided the curious some bread crumbs and stated the author is a recognised Scandinavian writer. 

Though political fiction is not anything particularly new to Denmark (think 'Borgen' or the 2005 film 'AFR', about the murder of then PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen), some critics have questioned whether it was appropriate for the author to remain anonymous.

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"One can ask if it is fair for someone to hang an easily recognisable person out to dry when that person themselves is hiding behind a pseudonym," Niels Frid, a critic for public broadcster DR, wrote in his review of the book. "It is hardly forbidden to place recognisable people into a fictional universe. But it is possible to discuss whether or not it is ethically justifiable to present public figures in this way."