Category Archives: Nordic literature

A Chilling Summer Read: ‘The Birds’ by Tarjei Vesaas

Tarjei Vesaas’ The Ice Palace was one of the most memorable reads from my immersion in Nordic literature last January.  After the magical and terrifying evocation of winter in that most chilling of Norwegian novels, I was fully prepared to shiver … Continue reading

Posted in Nordic literature, Reading in translation, Tarjei Vesaas | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Revisiting Norway: ‘The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen

In January of this year, I had a wonderful time immersing myself in Nordic literature.  I was entranced by the isolation, the human endurance and the untameable environment.  Roy Jacobsen’s ‘The Unseen’ felt like a glorious return to so much … Continue reading

Posted in Man Booker International Prize 2017, Nordic literature, Roy Jacobsen | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Navigating life: ‘Mirror, Shoulder, Signal’ by Dorthe Nors

I’m fairly certain this is the first book I’ve read in which the plot centres around the main character learning to drive.  It makes me wonder if I (and writers everywhere) are missing a trick, because the premise is fantastic.  From … Continue reading

Posted in Dorthe Nors, Nordic literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Bringing my Nordic reading home: Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf

This year, I decided to go for a mini reading project which would take me away from the grey London winter and into the realms of ice and snow.  My January was truly illuminating as I discovered books and rediscovered … Continue reading

Posted in Nordic literature, Seamus Heaney | Tagged , | 10 Comments

A wonderful introduction to modern Icelandic fiction: ‘Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was’ by Sjón

About a month ago, I reviewed the first book of my Nordic winter reading challenge – Halldór Laxness’s miserable Icelandic epic ‘Independent People.’  Since then, I’ve had a wonderful time reading my way around Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.  It feels … Continue reading

Posted in Nordic literature, Reading in translation, Sjón | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Nobody does it better: ‘A Winter Book’ by Tove Jansson

I have been meaning to read Tove Jansson’s ‘A Winter Book’ for simply ages.  My excuse for three quarters of the year of course, has always been that it’s just not seasonal; then somehow my winter reading tends to get … Continue reading

Posted in Nordic literature, Tove Jansson | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

A magical winter read: ‘The Ice Palace’ by Tarjei Vesaas

Even within the wonderful set of wintery books I’ve been reading this January, ‘The Ice Palace’ stands out as exceptional.  For magic, fear and disturbing ambiguity, I’d be surprised if it didn’t make it into my top reads for 2017. … Continue reading

Posted in Nordic literature, Tarjei Vesaas | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Some things never go out of fashion: ‘The Red Room: Scenes of Artistic and Literary Life’ by August Strindberg

It’s impossible to read much European literature from the turn of the century and not have run into Strindberg, as so many fictional characters gush and have epiphanies over his writings.  Somehow however, he’s never managed to get to the top … Continue reading

Posted in August Strindberg, Nordic literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Winter Escapism: ‘Growth of the Soil’ by Knut Hamsun

I very nearly didn’t pick ‘Growth of the Soil’ for my Nordic literature project.  I’d read ‘Hunger,’ which is probably Hamsun’s most famous work in England, and hadn’t enjoyed it much.  Then after the bleak misery of Laxness’s ‘Independent People‘ I wasn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Knut Hamsun, Nobel Prize for Literature, Nordic literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Sometimes it’s hard to see clearly: ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow’ by Peter Høeg

‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow’ begins with a description of a winter funeral: ‘It’s freezing, an extraordinary -18 °C, and it’s snowing, and in the language which is no longer mine, the snow is qanik – big, almost weightless crystals falling … Continue reading

Posted in Nordic literature, Peter Høeg, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments