Roy Jacobsen is present
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Roy Jacobsen has long been considered one of Norway’s greatest writers. His work has recently drawn international attention thanks to the many translations of his epic about a Norwegian family trying to carve out an existence in a tumultuous twentieth century. But his books are not just about hardship on a remote island. They also ask questions about the collective memory: How do we choose to remember war, guilt and collaboration? And what remains unseen?
Writer and reviewer Roderik Six asks these and more pressing questions.
Jacobsen, who has written novels, short stories and children’s books, is considered one of Norway’s leading writers. Like his younger compatriot Matias Faldbakken, who will also be present at the festival, he won the prestigious Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature.
Jacobsen’s novel The Unseen has been translated in more than 20 countries and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award. The book is the first of a four-part cycle set on the island of Barrøy off the coast of Norway. White Shadow and Eyes of the Rigel are the second and third volumes to have been translated into English, with the fourth volume still to be translated.
The cycle focuses on Ingrid, the protagonist. In The Unseen, her father dreams of building a wharf that connects their island to the mainland. Yet, being so close to the wider world will not be without consequences. In White Shadow, Norway is suffering under the yoke of Nazi occupation. During a heavy storm, bodies from a sunken German warship wash up on the small island, with a survivor among them: the Russian prisoner of war Alexander.
Passa Porta, De Bezige Bij, Royal Norwegian Embassy, NORLA, KVS