The Funeral - an app novel

The Funeral is Denmark’s first Ipad novel.  In it the reader is presented with the story of Theodor Nicolaisen’s suspicious death and his funeral.  By clicking on eight death notices one is introduced to the lives of eight different individuals – each one a world filled with suspense, sadness and love.  The narrative of this I-pad novel unfolds in a beautifully illustrated, animated digital universe.  The novel consists of one main story and seven death notices. Click on a death notice and up comes a sub-story, one which weaves its fictional central character into the main story.  It is up to the reader to choose the order in which the stories are read.


The Funeral is the work of Merete Pryds Helle, a writer with an extensive body of work under her belt.  In addition to several novels she has written radio plays, computer games, text-message novels and computer apps.

I’m always a sucker for people trying to do something interesting with the interactive novel format. This comes from Denmark: a story of a suspicious death and funeral, explored through eight different death notices: “each one a world filled with suspense, sadness and love”. It’ll quickly pull you in.
— Stuart Dredge - The Guardian

The Funeral is the first Danish I-pad novel to appear on the market.  Its author is award-winning Danish writer Merete Pryds Helle (born 1965) who has already published many works of literary fiction as well as short stories, text message stories and radio plays.


Theodor Nicolaisen found dead

The Funeral is a detective story: Theodore Nicolaisen, former officer with the Danish Security Intelligence Service, is found dead in front of his television, which is tuned to a porn channel.  Did he die from natural causes or not - that is what the police have to ascertain.  But this case opens old wounds and one death soon leads to others.


The construction of the app

The app is constructed around a number of death notices which pop up at the side of the screen as you read.  When you click on a death notice you activate a suggestive animation that opens a sub-story.


Each sub-story provides a fuller picture of an individual character in the main story, giving the reader greater insight into that character’s life and into what lies behind the gradually increasing death toll.  This means that, unlike the classic style of novel, this story can be read in a host of different ways, all according to the order in which the reader chooses to read the 100-odd pages.  There are eight sub-stories in all, each revolving around one character from the main story: from the police officers and their relatives to the killer whose diary we are allowed to read.  While the main story follows the classic crime novel format, the sub-stories adhere to different genres: taking, for example, epistolary, diary or conversational form.


Crime and love

The Funeral is a universe made up of different voices and different slants on the main story.  The result is a tale of love, desire, sorrow and loss that elegantly unfolds, exploring the lives of people caught up in a high-tension plot.  Like pearls on a string one event follows another: but on the side there is scope to immerse oneself in the fates of the individual characters.