HyenasØrstavik, Hanne: Hyenene
After ending her relationship with Rudolf, Siv borrows a friend’s flat in a small coastal town to get away from it all, and to try to understand the pat­terns in her own life. She wants to dis­cover who and what she is when she isn’t constantly doing something.
Who is Siv when she isn’t writing? Is it possible for her to love another per­son without compromising her own boundaries? And can Siv embrace and enjoy life without being constantly dis­gusted with herself?
In Hyenas, Ørstavik continues her ex­ploration of the relationship between life and text, mothers and their chil­dren, the self and others. Slowly Siv opens up to other people, and to the inner, plentiful life. Evolving from a feeling of emptiness to a string of pic­tures, a string of feelings, until some­thing bigger, subtly connected – the contours of a shape – emerge in the reader, the same way it happens within Siv.
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Praise for HYENAS:
“Noone can depict the movement of the mind, the imperceptible changes and abrupt leaps, as well as Hanne Ørstavik … With her new novel, Hyenas, she is at her very best. At the same time it is a novel that is happier, lighter, more playful than anything else she has written … and the writing is more beautiful than ever … Med this year’s novel her work presents itself as richer and more varied than ever.”
“Hyenas is in every way a typical Ørstavik novel. The clear, transparent prose, the surprising observations, the sudden flashes of humour … Ørstavik is so crafty as a writer that her novels are never insignificant or unimportant.”
“It’s a good sign when you have difficulties saying exactly what a novel is about. That means it is complex, and you realize thatin order to do the novel justice, it has to be said exactly as it is written … it is the way Ørstavik writes, with long, singing sentences, with frequent turns, elaborations and new angles, that makes this novel so complex … there is a tenderness and human compassion in Ørstavik’s project that make this into a, yes, often moving novel … It touches on something as essential as existence itself.”
“The text is vintage Ørstavik, in the sense that it carefully explores the sensations of the body and the whims of the heart, the world as it presents itself to us, closely and intimately”
“[Hyenas] certainly demand concentration from the reader, but if you give it the time and attention it needs, Hyenas becomes a story that causes great impact and hardly resembles anything else in contemporary Norwegian literature.”
"... she poses a challenge with a kind of quiet intensity...one begins to reflect on oneself and one’s own relationship to the outside world...this is fiction which will creep up on you and startle the reader with a richly nuanced language".
(Kulturnyhetarna, SVT, Sweden)
"There are big questions in this novel ... Ørstavik has created yet another psychological coming-of-age novel which succeeds in being both precise and fluid at the same time".
"...a thoroughly thrilling text, fragile and rambling, filled with riddles and with an opacity that constantly urges us to read on ... At times it feels almost as if we wrote this novel together".
"Ørstavik writes completely without fear ... for me it is not only Siv’s inner world which opens up, but also my understanding of what it’s like to be inside one’s own world".
(Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden)
"You won’t find such vulnerability and conscious defenselessness with anyone else. As a reader you can’t help being impressed ... Ørstavik’s voice is fragile but intensely powerful. She possesses a rigour and an iron will in all that softness. It’s an inspiring combination".
(Värmlands Folkblad, Sweden)
"These stories are not rich on intrigues and external happenings. Nevertheless she succeeds in creating an enormous sense of drama ... she forces us into something very arduous which we don’t want to be part of, yet which deeply concerns us".
(Aftonbladet, Sweden) (From a review of the Norwegian edition)
First published: 2011, Forlaget Oktober
Hanne Ørstavik: Biography and bibliography
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