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Love

de Hanne Orstavik

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1535143,002 (3.65)2
"A mother and son move to a village in northern Norway, each ensconced in their own world. Their distance has fatal consequences. Love is the story of Vibeke and Jon, a mother and son who have just moved to a small place in the north of Norway. It's the day before Jon's birthday, and a travelling carnival has come to the village. Jon goes out to sell lottery tickets for his sports club, and Vibeke is going to the library. From here on we follow the two individuals on their separate journeys through a cold winter's night - while a sense of uneasiness grows. Love illustrates how language builds its own reality, and thus how mother and son can live in completely separate worlds. This distance is found not only between human beings, but also within each individual. This novel shows how such distance may have fatal consequences"--… (mais)
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Exibindo 5 de 5
Not the sort of thing I usually read; I prefer 'intellectually disturbing' to 'emotionally wounding,' but this is exceptionally well done. This is the rare novel that seems to do *precisely* what its author wanted it to do. Archipelago books is a wonderful imprint, but I do wish they'd stop quoting Knausgaard in their blurbs of Scandinavian writers, unless he's being descriptive or effusive (here: 'Love is Hanne Orstavik's strongest book,' which could be like me saying 'Knausgaard's blurbs are his most interesting writing'). ( )
1 vote stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
I love the books published by Archipelago Books. I like the small square size, the textured paper covers, the French flaps, and the interesting cover art (this book features a work by Edvard Munch). And I usually like the works they choose to translate. This novel by Norwegian author Hanne Ørstavik is no exception.

Vibeke and her son, Jon, have just moved to a small town in northern Norway. Vibeke has a new job and is excited about the success of the presentation she did that day. Jon is an imaginative boy excited about turning nine the following day. The book is the story of that one evening, the eve of Jon's birthday.

The narrative flows seamlessly between mother and son without breaks, but without confusion either. I had no trouble following who was speaking. The thoughts of each often mirrors the other despite their being apart, each doing their own thing. The tone is intimate and the intertwining of their thoughts seems to indicate a close and loving relationship, yet their actions that evening reflect a genuine disconnect. As the evening progresses, the pace of the narrative increases and the mood darkens. The reader knows something is coming, but is unsure what.

An enjoyable and quick read. Recommended ( )
  labfs39 | Jul 15, 2019 |
‘’A path into the forest, from a long-forgotten place.
Find the path and follow, its ribbon yours to trace.
Past trees and hillocks wander, to a splendid castle old,
In whose halls three ladies fine you shall at last behold.
The prince they there await, if ever he should come.
A song they sing to pass the time, a lonely, plaintive hum.’’


Once in a while, there comes a book that takes you by surprise. An unassuming, low-key, seemingly ordinary novel which turns into an experience that makes you fully understand why you love reading so much. That gives a whole new meaning to Literary Fiction. That has you thinking for days after the last page is turnt. The feelings that ‘’Love’’ caused in me surprised me. What didn’t surprise me was the fact that this novel comes from one of the most haunting places God has created. Norway, the land of the Midnight Sun. But in our story, the sun is nowhere to be found…

Vibeke and Jon have recently moved to a new town, in Norway. The story unfolds over a single wintry night when Vibeke and Jon follow their own separate ways, each for their own reasons. Through this peculiar evening, Vibeke will have to face the results of her questionable behaviour and Jon will come across his own fears and isolation.

The two characters consist the driving force of the story. Vibeke is a bookworm, a woman who wants to succeed in her career, to look beautiful, to fall in love and have some time to herself. She is a modern mother, but more often than not, she comes across as vain, almost narcissistic, cold and clueless and not quite the kind of mother that a nine year old child needs. Jon is a boy with a tender heart and an almost terrifying imagination, not unlike his mother. The two share the most unbreakable bond God has created, the one between a mother and her child. However, the relationship depicted in this novel is troubled and troubling. Vibeke and Jon trust strangers too easily and their minds create images, expectations and assumptions that have little or no connection to reality. The two other characters are Tom, a young man working in a funfair, and an unnamed driver whom Jon meets on his way home.

Ørstavik’s writing is impeccable, perfect, as haunting as the beauty of her homeland. There are beautiful scenes from the daily life of the two characters. You can feel the warmth of their home, smell the cooked food, see the cozy corners. You can see the dimly lit streets of the neighbourhood, hear the crunching snow, smell the freezing wind and wander in the centre of the town, visit the library and the funfair. The writer’s ability to paint pictures with words and communicate so many themes through minimal dialogue is outstanding. The eerie feeling, the sense of impending doom that permeates the novel doesn’t allow you to look away and I am happy to see that the translator did a marvelous job in transfering images and feelings to perfection.The end is striking. As I’m writing, I try to process it and I can’t. It will leave you speechless, the way a well-written novella has to do.

This is an appropriate read for a cold winter’s night, ideally in Norway. Or Denmark, or Sweden and Finland. But if this isn’t possible, any place becomes ideal when there is a beautiful book to keep us company. And this is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year. Yes, it is dark, sad, it cuts like a knife and freezes the blood, and yet, in all this darkness, there is a kind of pure beauty. I’m not a mother, but I work with children and books like this one makes you want to hold them close and shut out the darkness of the world.

Many thanks to Archipelago Books and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 15, 2018 |
Beautifully written. I loved how the narrative jumped between the characters in such a way that sometimes I was a few words in to a paragraph before I realized it had switched. Ørstavik really evoked the eerie loneliness of the far North where she is from and never dropped the thread of suspense. I give the Mom an "epic fail" in the parenting department.
  jveezer | Feb 2, 2018 |
La mode est à l'écriture qui brouille la lecture et embrouille le plus possible le lecteur. L'auteure y réussit parfaitement, avec ses paragraphes courts qui passe du récit sur la mère à celui sur le fils, sans aucune transition. C'est déroutant, et, pour moi, décourageant. De plus, je n'ai pas compris grand chose à la fin de ce court roman... ennuyeux ! ( )
  pangee | Jun 13, 2011 |
Exibindo 5 de 5
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» Adicionar outros autores (1 possível)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Hanne Orstavikautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Aitken, MartinTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Busquets, BlancaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Eklund, LottaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Romand-Monnier, CélineTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Spagnol, LuigiTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Szöllősi Adrienne,Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tollefsen, Lotte K.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tuuva, TuulaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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"A mother and son move to a village in northern Norway, each ensconced in their own world. Their distance has fatal consequences. Love is the story of Vibeke and Jon, a mother and son who have just moved to a small place in the north of Norway. It's the day before Jon's birthday, and a travelling carnival has come to the village. Jon goes out to sell lottery tickets for his sports club, and Vibeke is going to the library. From here on we follow the two individuals on their separate journeys through a cold winter's night - while a sense of uneasiness grows. Love illustrates how language builds its own reality, and thus how mother and son can live in completely separate worlds. This distance is found not only between human beings, but also within each individual. This novel shows how such distance may have fatal consequences"--

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