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Search tags: Scandinavian-literature
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review 2016-05-14 11:00
The Unhappy Liar by Habit: Before You Sleep by Linn Ullmann
Before You Sleep - Linn Ullmann
Die Lügnerin: Roman - Linn Ullmann

Before You Sleep is a contemporary Scandinavian novel from Norway, more precisely a debut novel written by the daughter of actress Liv Ullmann and film director Ingmar Bergman. Can it be much of a surprise that it was an immediate success when it first came out in 1998?


The story centres on three generations of the Norwegian Blom family. Most of them have always lived in Norway, but one followed his heart and immigrated to the USA in the 1930s. He got married, had two daughters, managed to keep afloat during the years of the depression... and died unexpectedly just when things were getting better. His family returned to Norway and all that seems to be left of this episode of family history is a faded photo and a couple of stories. But the narrator realises that the experiences of her ancestors, notably of her mother, shaped her character too, especially her inclination to tell lies to protect herself from pain. This quest of her family and of herself gives a meditative story with a faintly surrealistic touch here and there.


I enjoyed reading the novel very much and hope that I did it justice with my long review. Click here to read it on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany.

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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url 2014-09-12 18:00
A Danish Precursor of German Symbolism: J. P. Jacobsen

J. P. Jacobsen


The nineteenth century was one of progress in science, but also literature underwent considerable changes. Innovative writers around the world propagated realism and naturalism in their work. An important Danish figure of the movement, who is almost forgotten today although his works were widely read in his time as well as after his early death, was Jens Peter Jacobsen. However, he was much more than just a naturalist writer. His influence is notable in the works of Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann, D. H. Lawrence and many others. And yet, who still remembers him outside Scandinavia?

J. P. Jacobsen was a very intelligent young man with a great interest both in natural science as well as in literature. The work of Charles Darwin impressed him and inspired him to disseminate it in Scandinavia through his translations and scientific articles. Also his poems, short stories and novels show the deep impact that the Theory of Evolution left on his mind. His œuvre may be very small because he died already at the age of thirty-eight years, but with its markedly impressionistic language and an extremely precise as well as introspective style it left lasting traces in literature.

Click here to read my portrait of this important and impressive Danish writer.

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.co.at/2014/09/jens-peter-jacobsen.html
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