In a Nutshell:
When adult siblings, Liv, Ellen and Häkon, along with their partners and children, gather in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, their lives are thrown into disarray when their parents announce that they have decided to divorce.
It is told predominantly from the perspectives of the two sisters, Ellen and Liv and the last chapter is told by Häkon, the youngest child and the only brother. I felt that the chapters narrated by the two sisters were more successful.
A Modern Family reminded me of Kent Haruf’s novels, the story of a normal family, about parents, siblings, relationships and the ties that bind them all. An insightful and gripping read.
I learnt a new word, schadenfreude meaning, pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.
A Modern Family marked Helga’s first English publication when it was released in 2019, it was the winner of the Norwegian Booksellers’ award.
“No, the most romantic thing I can imagine is living with someone in full freedom, and this person choosing to spend their time with me because they want to, mind body and soul, not because they committed to doing so twenty years ago in front of someone or something they don’t even believe in.”
Want to read A Modern Family? Buy it here.
A Modern Family
Written by Helga Flatland
Translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger
13/06/2019, Orenda Books
#WITMonth for 2021 is curated by Jess Andoh-Thayre
I am 35, from London but currently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have lived in Tanzania, Chile, Spain and now Cambodia. I am married to a diplomat and we have been posted in Dar es Salaam and now Cambodia. Prior to married life, I had also lived in La Serena, Chile and Madrid, Spain.
I am a French, Spanish and English teacher, translator, avid reader and now blogger. When I am not teaching, reading and blogging, I love seeing a brilliant sunset, swimming and hanging out with my husband and son.
Author: Helga Flatland
Helga Flatland is a Norwegian author, she is one of Norway’s most widely read authors.
She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. A Modern Family, is her fifth novel, and was a number-one bestseller.
One Last Time is her second book to be translated into English (by Rosie Hedger), and published in 2021.
Translator: Rosie Hedger
Rosie Hedger is a Norwegian literary translator. Born in Scotland, she has lived in Oslo, Sweden and Denmark, she is now based in the North of England.