Borderliners is a fascinating novel about childrens awareness and the study of time. Peter Hoeg uses themes of time, fear, questioning, and power to create a thrilling masterpiece.
The novel is about several children who have lost their parents and have been moved through homes and schools constantly throughout their lives. They have been brought together when they are given the chance to attend Biehl's Academy, a school for children, many of whom are “troubled” but that could have a bright future.
Peter Hoeg narrates the novel through the eyes of a child attending the Academy. Hoeg's narration doesn't stay in one place. Different points in time are separated by mere paragraph breaks or chapter endings. Storylines from the past, present, and future overlap and the reader is thrown into a state of confusion. Since the storyline is disjointed, the reader doesn't grasp exactly what is going on.
References are made by the child narrator to fear and a power the teachers seem to hold over the children. Pills are administered to the children, but the children don't know what the pills are for. A constant fear and discipline is felt by the children in the school and by the reader because of the subservience the children are forced into. Because Hoeg chooses to narrate the novel through the perspective of a child, this fear becomes more pronounced in the reader. Hoeg evokes the human nature of the reader to fear for a child's well being to succeed in making this “fear” a major theme of the novel.
This novel is not for everyone. There are points where it drags a bit and reading it for the first time can be very confusing. I would highly recommend this novel if what I wrote earlier intriguied you at all. It's hard to write about it without explaining what happens with perspective and shifts in time, but that would give away the fun of reading this. It is exciting and makes you question from beginning to end. If you're up for the confusion I highly recommend reading this book!