Nominated by:

Deichmanske Bibliotek, Oslo, Norway

Sølvberget, Stavanger bibliotek og kulturhus

Publisher of nominated edition:

Norvik Press, UK

A House in Norway

Vigdis Hjorth    

Translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund

A House in Norway tells the story of Alma, a divorced textile artist who makes a living from weaving standards for trade unions and marching bands. She lives alone in an old villa, and rents out an apartment in her house to supplement her income. She is overjoyed to be given a more creative assignment, to design a tapestry for an exhibition to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage in Norway, but soon finds that it is a much more daunting task than she had anticipated. Meanwhile, a Polish family moves into her apartment, and their activities become a challenge to her unconscious assumptions and her self-image as a good feminist and an open-minded liberal. Is it possible to reconcile the desire to be tolerant and altruistic with the imperative need for creative and personal space?

About the author

Vigdis Hjorth is a Norwegian novelist whose work has been recognised by many prizes. She writes about the dilemmas of living in modern society; her characters struggle to come to terms with a rapidly changing world and to find a meaningful way to integrate with others and realise their own potential. In this novel she combines the political with the personal, as she also does in Snakk til meg (Talk To Me, 2010), about the problems of a long-distance intercultural relationship, and Leve Posthornet! (Long Live the Postal Service! 2012), which examines the clash between local, ‘people-friendly’ services and global corporations. Her latest novel, Arv og Miljo (Inheritance and Environment, 2016), a searing account of sexual abuse, has aroused heated debate about the relationship between fiction and reality.

About the translator

Charlotte Barslund has translated several Norwegian and Danish writers, including Jo Nesbo and Karin Fossum. Her translation of Pet Petterson’s I curse the River of Time was shortlisted for the Independent 2011 Foreign Fiction award, and that of Carsten Jensen’s We, the Drowned was nominated for the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments:

This intriguing novel forces its reader to review his or her own views and values.

This book explores the conflict between having empathy in theory, and showing actual compassion in real life. It’s a critique of the rich Norwegian society and the way they treat their foreign workers; written in a both funny and gripping fashion.

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