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Melancholy II (Norwegian Literature)by Jon Fosse
Synopses & Reviews
Taking place, like , over the course of a single day, we are treated to the thoughts of Hertervig's sister Oline, carrying on with her life in the absence of her beloved--if eccentric--brother. She recalls their childhood under a domineering father, recalls Hertervig's difficulties fitting in, and likewise Hertervig the man: poor, always hovering on the brink, fanatical about painting and his own perceived shortcomings both as an artist and human being. In the same meticulous and hypnotic prose for which Fosse is famous, serves not only as an investigation into the "collateral damage" of art, but into a master's tools and obsessions.
"In this coda to the acclaimed Melancholy, Fosse's presentation of commonplace events is almost unbearably intense. Set in Norway during the early years of the last century, this story is told from the point of view of Oline, the sister of real-life painter Lars Hertervig, who narrated his own decent into madness in the first novel. As the action opens, Hertervig has recently died, and Oline's other brother, Sivert, is critically ill. Over the book's single day, the elderly Oline twice goes to the harbor to buy fish, is visited by an old friend, and visits Sivert on his deathbed. She also struggles with pain, incontinence, and substantial memory loss. As Oline grapples to make sense of her present, she has vivid recollections of her childhood and adult life spent with her eccentric brother. The stream-of-consciousness teases Oline's aches and lapses out over paragraphs and pages. Her struggle home from the harbor with her fish becomes truly herculean, and although she frequently resolves to visit her dying brother, she keeps forgetting to go, which adds a sense of suspense. Admirers of the first book will find this novel subtler and more profound than its predecessor, and new readers will discover a stunning, haunting meditation on age. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Not so much a sequel as an alternate perspective, Jon Fosse's coda to his brilliant and much-lauded , picks up the story of tormented landscape painter Lars Hertervig in 1902, shortly after his death. In the same meticulous and hypnotic prose for which Fosse is famous, serves not only as an investigation into the "collateral damage" of art, but into a master's tools and obsessions.
About the Author
Called "the new Ibsen" in the German press, and heralded throughout Western Europe, Jon Fosse is one of contemporary Norwegian literature's most important writers. In 2000, his novel Melancholy won the Melsom Prize, and Fosse was awarded a lifetime stipend from the Norwegian government for his future literary efforts.Eric Dickens is a translator and reviewer of Estonian and Finnish-Swedish literature. He is currently translating work by the novelists Toomas Vint and Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo.
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