Tag Archives: Norway

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

The Bird Tribunal Agnes RavatnTranslated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger, ‘The Bird Tribunal’ by Agnes Ravatn tells the story of Allis Hagtorn, a former TV presenter who goes into self-imposed exile from her home, job and partner after she is involved in a scandal at work. She finds a new job as a housekeeper and gardener for a man called Sigurd Bagge in the middle of nowhere despite having no real experience in that type of role. Before arriving at his isolated house by the Norwegian fjords, she expects to be caring for an elderly man but discovers on arrival that Sigurd is in his forties and is not much older than her, simply requiring some extra help in the house and garden while his wife is away. Sigurd rarely talks to Allis and has violent mood swings but she finds herself being increasingly drawn to him. Continue reading


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Peirene Press: The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik and Mr Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson

Having read and enjoyed ‘The Mussel Feast‘ by Birgit Vanderbeke and ‘The Dead Lake‘ by Hamid Ismailov, I have been seeking out more titles published by Peirene Press, a small independent publishing house who specialise in contemporary European novellas translated into English, which the Times Literary Supplement describes as “literary cinema for those fatigued by film”. So far, I’ve found six more in charity shops and Hay-on-Wye bookshops:

Peirene Press

As August is Women in Translation Month hosted by Biblibio, I’ve been reading ‘Mr Darwin’s Gardener’ by Kristina Carlson translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah (Title No. 11 from the Turning Point: Revolutionary Moments series) and ‘The Blue Room’ by Hanne Ørstavik translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin (Title No. 14 from the Coming-of-Age: Towards Identity series). It’s a happy coincidence that the books I have chosen have both been written and translated by women. Continue reading


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Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Boyhood IslandTranslated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett, ‘Boyhood Island’ is the third instalment of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ambitious six-book cycle of autobiographical novels known as ‘My Struggle’. Having explored some of Knausgaard’s later childhood in ‘A Death in the Family‘, the second volume ‘A Man in Love‘ jumped forward in time to concentrate on his experiences of fatherhood. As you may guess from the title, ‘Boyhood Island’ jumps back in time again to Knausgaard’s childhood. Continue reading


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A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

A Man in Love‘A Man in Love’ is the second book in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle six-part autobiographical series of novels.  This particular volume focuses on Knausgaard’s relationship with his second wife, Linda, and their life in Stockholm with their three young children. At the time, Knausgaard had recently published his first novel to widespread critical acclaim but was finding it difficult to balance the demands of his domestic life with his writing. Continue reading


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A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

A Death in the FamilyRegarded as a national obsession in his native Norway, ‘A Death in the Family’ is the first book in the six volume ‘My Struggle’ series of autobiographical novels by Karl Ove Knausgaard.  Despite being marketed as fiction, ‘My Struggle’ is an unflinchingly honest and controversial memoir which explores both the mundane everyday details and the more significant events in Knausgaard’s life.

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The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

Earlier this year, I watched the first season of the TV series ‘Borgen’, a political drama set in Denmark, and got completely hooked to the point where I began to convince myself that I could speak Danish.  However, with the exception of reading the Millennium Trilogy a couple of years ago, I am definitely lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to jumping on the Scandinavian crime fiction bandwagon and this week, I tried to rectify that by reading ‘The Redbreast’ by Jo Nesbo. Continue reading


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