‟An exquisite and warm novel… Among Norway’s contemporary writers, Ullmann might be the finest sentence by sentence. Here she blasts her story into fragments and puts it back together, piece by piece, with the artistry of someone who has always secretly known the broken things are most beautiful.”
Linn Ullmann´s national bestseller novel Unquiet was published by Forlaget Oktober in Norway on November 21st 2015 to outstanding critical acclaim. For Unquiet, Linn Ullmann has been nominated to the Nordic Council´s Literary Prize (Nordisk råds litteraturpris 2016), as well as the National Critic’s Prize (Kritikerprisen 2015) and The Kulturhuset Stadsteaterns International Literary Prize 2017. She also received the National Broadcasting’s literary prize (P2-lytternes romanpris 2015). In 2017 the Swedish Academy awarded Linn Ullmann with The Dobloug Prize for her entire body of work.
Praise for Unquiet
‟A brilliant meditation on time, mortality, and the limits of memory… Ullmann’s prose is elegant […] sharp, and occasionally funny. But the mood of this work as a whole is elegiac. ‘Can I,’ she asks, ‘mourn people who are still alive?’ Gorgeous and heartbreaking.”
The Cold Song has been chosen by independent booksellers as an Indie Next Pick
From the internationally best-selling author Linn Ullmann, hailed as a “an elegant stylist with an original voice” (New York Times Book Review) comes this taut, brilliantly acute novel of a family who when faced with tragedy must confront their guilt, their longings, and their losses.
Siri Brodal, a chef and restaurant owner, is married to Jon Dreyer, a famous novelist plagued by writer’s block. Siri and Jon have two daughters, and together they spend their summers on the coast of Norway, in a mansion belonging to Jenny Brodal, Siri’s stylish and unforgiving mother.
Siri and Jon’s marriage is loving but difficult, and troubled by painful secrets. They have a strained relationship with their elder daughter, Alma, who struggles to find her place in the family constellation. When Milla is hired as a nanny to allow Siri to work her long hours at the restaurant and Jon to supposedly meet the deadline on his book, life in the idyllic summer community takes a dire turn. One rainy July night, Milla disappears without a trace. After her remains are discovered and a suspect is identified, everyone who had any connection with her feels implicated in her tragedy and haunted by what they could have done to prevent it.
In this novel about life and love, rendered like a thriller, Ullmann captures a constellation of characters as complex as they are paradoxical—neither fully guilty nor fully innocent.
Praise for The Cold Song
‟A magnificent, psychologically profound family novel that shows how minor lapses, secrets, and repressed desires can cause a major tragedy.”
A Blessed Child is masterful storytelling, a confident and strikingly original novel, fraught with deep empathy and black humour; an unforgettable portrait of the three Scandinavian sisters Erika, Laura and Molly, who have different mothers, but the same father: The prominent and temperamental ultrasound specialist Isak Lövenstad.
In the summer of 1979, something terrible happens on the beautiful, weather-beaten island of Hammarsö in the Baltic. Each year, the half-sisters Erika, Laura and Molly have spent the summer here with their temperamental father, Isak Lövenstad. The three young girls enter into changing and unpredictable alliances with other summer guests, including Ragnar, the boy who is always running and who in some strange way is attracted to Isak. No one assumes responsibility for what happens that summer, and more than twenty-five years are to pass before the sisters return to the island – this time to visit their old father.
A Blessed Child is enacted in the tension between guilt and reconciliation, remembering and forgetting, and it is a novel with strong undercurrents of raw sensuality and violence. Individual lives swirl into weird constellations where practically anyone can be an outsider, be ostracised and hunted. A Blessed Child is a rich portrayal of the life-stories of three women, and at the same time an unusually fine portrait of a father – both merciless and tender. Linn Ullmann writes with associative force and boldness, impelled by a powerful narrative urge and a keen eye for what is vulnerable and defenceless.
A Blessed Child was published in Norway the fall of 2005, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Norwegian literature prize – the Brage Prize. In 2008 it was named Best Translated novel in the British newspaper The Independent, and in 2009 the novel was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
- The 20 Best Books of the Year, The Independent, 19 December 2008
- Times Literary Supplement, 19 December 2008
- Washington Post, 10 December 2008
- Anniston Star, 14 September 2008
- The Independent, 5 September 2008
- Time Out London, 2 September 2008
- The Scotsman, 30 August 2008
- International Herald Tribune, 19 August 2008
- New York Times, 15 August 2008
- Literary Review, August 2008
- Mslexia, 1 July 2008
- Jyllands-Posten (DK), translated, 20 April 2006
- Berlingske Tidende (DK), translated, 15 April 2006
Praise for A Blessed Child
‟Linn Ullmann writes with all the atmospheric depth and psychological subtlety you might expect.”
Johan has bargained with Death for years: when he was a boy, he prayed that Death take his father, not his mother; when he was a man, Death kindly removed his wife, Alice, allowing him to marry Mai, the love of his life. Now, Death has come for him, and Johan needs to strike one last bargain: when the moment arrives, he wants Mai to promise that she will help him on his way out of the world.
Johan has been mainly a paragon of mediocrity; it is only through his love for Mai that he has seen the greater possibilities that life can sometimes offer. He is determined that his passing will be dignified, controlled - perhaps even comforting. But when the time comes, and Mai has finally agreed to help him, he is no longer sure even that he has asked the right question. His deathbed is not as he imagined. His life - as a husband, lover and father - was never what it could have been. And, why is it exactly, he wonders, that his one true love has agreed to be his angel of death?
Linn Ullmann’s haunting novel portrays a passionate love affair, and asks difficult questions about life, love, and death. Finally, in prose of cool precision, deep insight and dark wit, it illustrates how the most ordinary of lives can, in the end, be unexpectedly touched by grace.
For Grace Linn Ullmann received the literary award The Reader’s Prize in Norway and Grace was named one of the top ten novels that year by the prestigious newspaper Weekendavisen in Denmark. In 2007, Grace was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in the UK, and in March the same year, the Norwegian theater Riksteatret played a successful run of the theatrical play Grace, based on the novel.
Praise for Grace
‟Linn Ullmann is a novelist and one of her most beautiful novels is Grace. This book leaves an impression which overwhelms everything. Linn Ullmann need not use thorough explanations. She observes. She lets her characters relate. In simple sentences. But, in mysterious ways these sentences capture even the most shaded feelings. Everything in this book is clear, but at the same time enigmatic as death itself. Grace is a kind of book that gives us a feeling that books can make us better human beings. Concurrently it is fabulously dry, without sentimentality, but moving in almost every line. Linn Ullmann is a great artist and it is high time we in Germany get to know her”
On a warm summer’s night in Oslo, Martin draws Stella into one of the risky games that have defined their ten years together: a balancing act on the edge of their rooftop, nine storeys up. Amid the shouts of horrified onlookers, Stella stumbles, falling for a moment into Martin’s arms before plummeting to her death. (Did he try to save her?) So begins Linn Ullmann’s transfixing tale of Stella—jealous wife, forbearing lover, angelic nurse, unloved daughter, devoted mother, and finally, a woman possessed of a secret now for-ever lost to the living. As Stella’s life unfolds in the recollections of those she has left behind, we observe the fabric of many lives unraveling. And as Stella herself bears witness from a place beyond death, we come to understand how precarious her life was behind its facade of loveliness and order.
With a quiet power, Stella Descending gives us the backlit dailiness—and the dark metaphysical underworld—of life in a fabled metropolis. And in brilliantly evoking the loneliness that haunts all our intimacies, it becomes a fable of life everywhere.
Praise for Stella Descending
‟…her talent is as unique as it is prodigious. Her first novel, Before You Sleep, was received to international acclaim. Her second, so often an author’s stumbling block, confirms Ullmann as a writer of empathy and poise. In spare, beautifully crafted prose, Stella Descending whittles away the deceptions that pervade our intimate relationships to expose a gnawing isolation from which only a temporary respite seems possible. It is a painful, deeply distressing novel and yet its cumulative impact produces the opposite- the kind of elation you can get only in the presence of great art.”
Through the sublimely unreliable voice of its narrator Karin, Before You Sleep reaches back from present-day Oslo to Brooklyn in the 1930s to relate the emotional legacies of the Blom family. Karin is both playful and melancholy - a serial seductress who defines herself in contrast to the women in her life: her mother, Anni, alluring, manipulative, and melodramatic; her sister Julie, a wife and mother undone by suspicions of her husband’s infidelity; her aunt Selma, the world’s angriest old woman; and her soldier-grandmother June who bets that Karin will be the best damn soldier of them all. Inventive and wise, funny and disquieting, “Before You Sleep” marked the arrival of a gifted new literary voice.
Praise for Before You Sleep
‟[Ullmann] is a fabulously gifted writer … Before you sleep succeeds in every way a novel should succeed.”
Arne Skouen is a name that evokes associations. Since the 1930s he has worked as a journalist, author, dramatist, columnist, and of course film director. Starting in 1949 and for the next two decades he directed and wrote the screenplays for seventeen full-length films, many of which had a major influence on Norwegian film. His films include Street Kids, Fire in the Night!, Nine Lives, Cold Tracks, About Tilla, and An-Magritt. In 1991 Nine Lives was proclaimed the best Norwegian film, and it is one of the few films from Norway to be nominated for an Oscar.
In this book Linn Ullmann discusses the prominent themes, ideas, and issues in Skouen’s films. She focuses, above all, on the way in which Skouen the filmmaker explores his own vision of solidarity and community. In Skouen’s films she finds a dream of the great community - a community that includes everyone, that shuts out no one. At the same time Skouen sows doubt that such a community is possible. He warns against over-confidence, warns against the danger of fighting for a vision if it comes at the expense of other people and what is human.
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This anthology contains 22 texts of which most are short stories. The texts have been written in the 1980’s and 90’s. Authors: Lars Saabye Christensen, Tor Ulven, Lars Amund Vaage, Øystein Lønn, Laila Stien, Stein Versto, Jan Kjærstad, Gro Dahle, Svein Jarvoll, Kari Bøge, Jon Fosse, Dag Solstad, Terje Holtet Larsen, Lisbet Hiide, Ingvar Ambjørnsen, Marit Tusvik, Tore Renberg, Jonny Halberg, Per Petterson, Hans Herbjørnsrud, Merethe Lindstrøm, Kjell Askildsen.
The anthology also includes contributors’ bibliographies.
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