Love

Ørstavik, Hanne: Kjærlighet

Love was voted the 6th best Norwegian book of the last 25 years

Love is the story about Vibeke and Jon, 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.

Click here  for English sample translation.

Praise for LOVE:

“You can give it as a gift to anyone, and they will be absorbed”
Aftenposten

"Ørstavik describes these tense hours with a fine feeling for language. The tone is quiet, the words believable, the story captivating and engaging without turning into a tear jerker about broken family ties."
Morgenbladet

”an extremely well-composed, linguistically precise, original, not to mention threatening story about the relationship between mother and child”
Aftenposten

”Excellent writing… Ørstavik writes out these suspenseful hours with a fine-polished linguistic nose. The tone is quiet, the words are credible, the story is gripping and engaging without degenerating into a tear jerker about broken family ties”
Morgenbladet

”The book is small in size, literary masterly and with a content that hits the reader right in the solar plexus”
Bergens Tidende

"Love is about longings, loneliness and the fact that everybody is alone. Because of this, the title has an especially strong effect. It is a thoroughly prepared, quiet, but very, very sad little novel … Love is simply a good book"
Adresseavisen

"With her book The Pastor one discovered Hanne Ørstavik, and the novel Love, recently released in French, confirms her talent"
Livres Hebdo

"Hanne Ørstavik follows to people in parallel, illuminates their wondering and makes tension rise, page by page. The result is a terrifying novel which sends a chill down one's spine, and leaves no one unaffected!"
Madame Figaro

"In a few pages, that are reminiscent of a sort of fairy tale, with both an enchanting and a disturbing dimension, Hanne Ørstavik creates a touching novel of precise and relevant language. Laboriously, she describes how language builds its own reality, how mother and son live in separate worlds. A wonderful and poetic book about loneliness and the search for love."
La Gazette Nord-Pas de Calais

"Hanne Ørstavik pulls the reader along until the very end, leading us astray, and tricking us to imagine the continuation of events, before she takes the story in a different, though not more comforting direction."
La Croix

"As so often before, solemnity is a condition for sensitivity. Hanne Ørstavik has used this principle to perfection, and gives us a novel that is simple and subtle, meditative and gripping."
L’Humanité

"Love explores the insurmountable distance between people, the elementary impenetrability of them, and tells us about the difficulty of reading the signals of others. In short, dry sentences, Ørstavik relates all the postponed, the possibilities that hang over our lives."
Avant-critiques

“Hanne Ørstavik succeeds in describing every little thing her characters do, and lets us feel the pressure of a white, freezing, deadly world. The alternation between points of view, and the time perspective (one single night) gives this heartbreaking text a surprising density. (…) Love fortifies the extraordinary talent of this author (born 1969), which behind closed doors, without special effects, describes how loneliness and loss of communication interact and interplay.”
Télérama, ***

First published: 1997, Forlaget Oktober
Hanne Ørstavik: Biography and bibliography

Rights sold to

Language Foreign publisher
Albanian Skanderbeg
American English Archipelago Books
Chinese (simplified) Shanghai Translation Publishing House
Croatian Fidipid
Czech Doplnek
Danish Athene/Aschehoug
Dutch De Geus
Finnish Like
French Les Allusifs
German Karl Rauch Verlag
Hindi A&A
Hungarian Scolar Kiado
Latvian Apgads Atena
Polish Smak Slowa
Romanian Univers
Russian Text
Serbian Stubovi kulture
Swedish Alfabeta Anamma

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