Berlin Poplars

Ragde, Anne B.: Berlinerpoplene

Not your average family reunion ...

When Anna Neshov suddenly suffers a stroke a week before Christmas and falls into a coma, her three sons are forced to redefine their own lives and relate to each other. Erlend works as a decorator in Copenhagen, Margido owns a small funeral parlour, and the oldest son, Tor, who is fifty-six, runs the family farm in Byneset near the city of Trondheim. The brothers haven't seen each other for years. Tor is the only one of the three with a child: his daughter Torunn, the result of a short-lived relationship in his youth. Torunn has only met her father once before. But now Tor wants her to come and meet her grandmother before she dies. The award-winning bestseller The Berlin Poplars is a novel about trying to tear up one's roots, only to discover that they run much deeper than expected. It is also about suddenly uncovering roots that one never knew existed.

Click here for English sample translation.

Praise for The Berlin Poplars:

"... the story is compelling and the final truth-telling is shocking"
(Paul Binding, Times Literary Supplement)

"A sophisticated exploration of family by a prize-winning Norwegian novelist...The spare, beautiful scenery of northern Norway provides an apposite backdrop for the interactions of these estranged kin. Ragde's writing is self-effacing and subtly crafted, an ideal tool for splintering the brothers' stout outer panelling of Norwegian wood to expose the steamy saunas of turmoil within... Ragde is a prolific writer, and Berlin Poplars won Norway's prestigious Riksmal Prize. If her other work is equally engrossing, it is high time for more of it to be translated here."
(The Independent, UK)

"darkly funny, grabs you at the start and doesn't let go. Not often is a book this great...if you want a treat, race to get this book, because it's truly heartwarming, and so, so funny"
(The Evening Herald, Ireland)

”Even though Berlin Poplars is first and foremost a page turner, a book you devour, you need not dig far to discover its intensity and complexity (…) the author’s prose is simple and precise, and she has a great nose for composition (…) The reader is soberly taken care of from beginning to end, guided by the narrative tension solely based on secrets revealed. (…) Berlin Poplars definitely deserves to become a long-lasting success”
(Le Monde, France)

”This extremely well written novel, with so much inherent darkness, is a wonderful portrayal of a family that is stuck in the unspoken”
(Le Nouvel Observateur, France)

”A captivating series (...) The Neshov trilogy has it all; this could be a new unexpected success, this spring's bestseller or a new [Stieg] Larsson"
(Centre France, France)

Berlin Poplars’ great strength is undoubtedly Anne B. Ragde’s flair for combining elements from the traditional family saga with techniques reminiscent of tv and film dramas. She constructs the intrigue and describes the psychology behind the confrontation between traditional values and our modern ways piece by piece – like a jigsaw puzzle. Her prose is radiant, the mood just as dark as one hopes for.”
(Le Quotidien, France)

”Anne B. Ragde manages to create an exciting read of unglamorous subjects like pig breeding and the act of placing a body in a coffin, right from the start and until the last and completely unexpected final scene”
(Femmes d’ajourd’hui, France)

"The Berlin Poplars offers a suggestive and universal story, and a very well-written one at that”

(Reflex, Czech Republic)

Berlin Poplars is an enigmatic and thrilling novel that at the same time is fuelled by a wicked sense of humour, giving the book its literary strength. One is constantly touched emotionally (…) as well as seduced by this great novel about passionate family ties”
(Luxembourger Wort, Luxembourg)

"... this darkly humorous novel is surprisingly moving."
(Refresh)

"...solid, linguistically supple, and highly entertaining ...Bull’s eye... Through an elegant, shifting perspective we are given a glimpse into contrasting destinies, as the skilful Ragde casts an unpretentious eye over pig farming and burial rituals, gay aesthetics and dog psychology... It is precisely the circles made round that which is not said, which makes this semi-mystery novel so engrossing"
(Dagbladet)

"A smashingly well-written novel that deserves to become a bestseller"
(Dagens Næringsliv)

"...a well-written, gripping and above all charming novel"
(Aftenposten)

"Anne B. Ragde displays a wholly unique ability to paint surroundings, everyday situations and the people in them, which make a strong impression on me... It is easy to quietly loose yourself in this story about belonging with its joy and pain"
(NRK)

"Not a dull moment... It is always exciting to open up one of Anne B. Ragde’s books, and The Berlin Poplars is no exception. She has developed a delicate flair for describing ordinary people’s peculiarities, strange perspectives and eccentricities, such that their lives are exciting to the reader... So solid and alive is her description of this flock of siblings and their farm that there is not a dull moment to be had... Serious and exciting – about dysfunctional families, dirty blokes and pigpens"
(VG)

"Some books you simply cannot put down, even if it means losing a night’s sleep. "The Berlin Poplars" is one of them... Ragde is an exceptional storyteller, and she does her homework when it comes to research"
(Bokklubben.no)

First published: 2004, Forlaget Oktober
Anne B. Ragde: Biography and bibliography

Rights sold to

Language Foreign publisher
Albanian Dituria Publishing House
British English Harvill Secker
Bulgarian Damyan Yakov
Czech Kniha Zlín
Danish Rosinante
Dutch De Geus
Estonian Eesti Raamat
Faeroese Forlaget Nylendi
Finnish Tammi
French Balland
German btb/Randomhouse
Hungarian Generalpress
Icelandic Edda
Italian Neri Pozza
Korean Yearimdang
Latvian Zvaigzne Publishers
Lithuanian Gimtasis Zodis
Macedonian ILI-ILI
Polish Smak Slowa
Romanian univers
Russian Live books
Swedish Forum
Turkish Profil Kitap

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