Seierstad does an incredible job telling the whole story of the massacre and its aftermath, the deeply flawed response by law enforcement and the families who lost children. Her writing, translated into English by Sarah Death, is both straightforward and compassionate. She doesn't spare the reader's feelings; it's a deeply painful book to experience ... One of Us is a masterpiece of journalism, a deeply painful chronicle of an inexplicable and horrifying attack that we'll likely never understand.
One of Us has the feel of a nonfiction novel. Like Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, it has an omniscient narrator who tells the story of brutal murders and, by implication, sheds light on the society partly responsible for them. Although those two books are beautifully written, I found One of Us to be more powerful and compelling ... On the whole, Seierstad has written a remarkable book, full of sorrow and compassion. After spending years away from home as a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Iraq, bearing witness to the crimes of other nations, she has confronted Norway’s greatest trauma since the Nazi occupation, without flinching and without simplifying.
[Seierstad's] taut narrative also reveals a series of heartbreakingly incompetent official decisions, without which many lives would have been saved. It would be an unremittingly dismal book if she hadn’t also profiled many victims and their families — in particular, the politically engaged youth gathered on Utoya, a tiny island owned by Norway’s Labour Party, whose loss to their parents and to their nation is clearly incalculable. The juxtaposition of their stories with their killer’s is what makes this book unforgettable.