I am a librarian and a Norwegian national. Thus, when I meet American readers, they mainly think of Jo Nesbo’s Nordic noir books about Harry Hole, or the historic epic Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. These are not the only Norwegian authors in translation however, and in honor of Women in Translation Month, I would like to introduce you to three recently published Norwegian authors.
Asne Seierstad is a journalist and author, whom in Norway reached fame when she wrote the story of The Bookseller of Kabul, a portrait of a middle-class Afghan family living in post-Taliban Kabul, Afghanistan. She has since written other books, such as Angel of Grozny and One of Us. Her works have landed her several awards, and her latest book is no exception.
Translated from Norwegian by Sean Kinsella Two Sisters: A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey into the Syrian Jihad is the true story of a Somali family living in Norway, and how their two daughters became radicalized and ran away to Syria to join the Islamic State, followed by the family’s desperate attempts to find them and bring them home.
The book has been waitlisted extensively, and for a while everybody in Norway was reading this book. If you ever wondered why western youth join ISIS, this book may hold a window to the answer.
Already a children’s book author and scriptwriter, Maja Lunde released her first adult novel The History of Bees in 2015. It became an instant hit and has subsequently won several awards. Translated by Diane Oatley, the story was released in English in August 2017.
The novel tells the story of three beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship with their bees, their children, and one another against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.
This is the first book in a quartet, so look out for the sequel The End of the Ocean in 2019, another gripping tale revolving around the theme of water.
Agnes Ravatn is a novelist, columnist, and a journalist. She debuted in 2007, but it is The Bird Tribunal, translated by Rosie Hedger, and published in January 2017 I wish to introduce you to.
The narrator of this intense, psychological thriller is TV personality Allis Hagtorn. After a sex scandal, she goes into voluntary exile in a remote part of Norway as a caretaker for Sigurd Bagge. As they get closer the deciding question becomes: Who is Sigurd Bagge, and what does he want with Allis?