Peace and lies

When the German occupation of Norway ended in May 1945, those who had quietly profiteered from the miseries of war began the process of burying the previous five years. As King Haakon of Norway returned from his London exile and was greeted by jubilant, flag-waving crowds, it could seem as though no “good” Norwegian had … Continue reading Peace and lies

Thinking Independently: How Britain’s Small Presses Championed Norwegian Literature

“Literature from Norway is characterized by good stories that don’t avoid discussing topics that are difficult and important,” Margit Walsø, director of Norwegian Literature Abroad (NORLA), recently observed in an interview with Norwegian Arts. That potent blend of narrative and candor travels well: Norwegian has recently become the second most translated language after French. And, … Continue reading Thinking Independently: How Britain’s Small Presses Championed Norwegian Literature

Terminal velocity

In 2017, there were two Norwegian nominees for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. One was Vigdis Hjorth, whose controversial yet acclaimed novel Arv og Miljø (recently published as Will and Testament in a brilliant translation by Charlotte Barslund) had been the most written-about book of 2016. The other nominee, some people were surprised to hear, was Henrik Nor-Hansen for … Continue reading Terminal velocity

Skandinavere er fryktelig skandinaviske

«Et vennskap kan være blant livets viktigste hendelser», skriver Graham Greene i memoarboken Ways of Escape, «og en fluktmetode, på samme måte som det å skrive eller reise, fra hverdagslige rutiner, følelsen av mislykkethet, frykten for fremtiden.» Boken, utgitt for 40 år siden, består av tidligere utgitte selvbiografiske artikler. Én av disse omhandler Nordahl Grieg, … Continue reading Skandinavere er fryktelig skandinaviske

Flee. Marry. Die.

In the spring of 2019, after the ‘caliphate’ established by ISIS had finally crumbled, children of jihadists and their niqab-clad mothers filled the refugee camp in Al-Hol, among them two Norwegian-Somali sisters already well-known to the Norwegian public. Their radicalisation had been carefully documented by Åsne Seierstad in Two Sisters, her award-winning 2016 work of reportage. … Continue reading Flee. Marry. Die.