Norwegian fiction

Cover image

The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm (transl. Anna Paterson): Enduring love

I seem to have read more novellas than usual this year. Not entirely a conscious decision – I love that feeling of sinking into a doorstopper, particularly in winter – but several of the shorter novels I’ve reviewed have packed much more of a punch than a luxuriously fat, piece of storytelling often does. Nicolai …

The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm (transl. Anna Paterson): Enduring love Read More »

I Refuse by Per Petterson (transl. Don Bartlett): Best read when cheerful

You don’t read Per Petterson for his cheeriness but I Refuse seemed even more sombre than usual to me. In it two men, close friends when they were young, meet briefly one morning by coincidence. Expensively dressed, Tommy has just parked his car when he spots Jim, shabby in his old reefer coat. Each recognises …

I Refuse by Per Petterson (transl. Don Bartlett): Best read when cheerful Read More »

Cover image

The Last Boat Home by Dea Brøvig: Dark secrets in ’70s Norway

After the pyrotechnics of Siri Hustvedt’s new novel last week I felt in need of something a little less taxing, something engaging but not too challenging. Dea Brøvig’s The Last Boat Home looked a likely candidate. It’s a first novel set in a tiny community on the Norwegian coast. Two narrative strands alternate between the …

The Last Boat Home by Dea Brøvig: Dark secrets in ’70s Norway Read More »

Cover image

Days in the History of Silence by Merethe Lindstrøm (transl. Anne Bruce): A meditation on silence, memory and loss

The jacket of Merethe Lindstrom’s beautifully written, quietly devastating novel suits it perfectly: the door of an almost empty room opens onto another room, opening onto another, all in varying shades of grey. It’s narrated by Eva and begins with an intruder, a young man who asks to use her phone when she is at …

Days in the History of Silence by Merethe Lindstrøm (transl. Anne Bruce): A meditation on silence, memory and loss Read More »