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BOOK OF GRIEF (THE STORY OF NILS IN THE WOODS) (working title)

Maria Navarro Skaranger

  • Original Title: BOK OM SORG (FORTELLINGEN OM NILS I SKOGEN)
  • Publication date: January 2018
  • Publisher: FORLAGET OKTOBER
  • Country: NO
  • 144 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Norway
  • Themes: FAMILY, Siblings, Dysfunctional family, Intergenerational, PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, Search for origins, Death, Resilience, Facing failure, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Psychological dysfunction, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Commitment, Mourning

Pitch

Told in numbered vignettes, the novel narrates the story of a family overwhelmed by grief, in the aftermath of a young man’s suicide.

Comments

Norwegian winner of the European Prize for Literature 2020
Winner of the Oslo Prize 2018.


From the EU Prize's jury statement: "The prose is straightforward, direct and sober, and in the course of 240 short fragments, a dramatic family story is gradually uncovered to the reader. Life is shown in its nuanced diversity through an extremely efficient and concentrated story. Book of Grief is a deeply serious and refreshingly accessible novel with the potential to move many readers."

Translation rights sold: Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia

Maria Navarro Skaranger previously published ALL FOREIGNERS HAVE THEIR CURTAINS CLOSED (2015) which was nominated for the Tarjei Vesaas Debut Prize and adapted for screen.

Summary

Set in Norway. The narrator is a young woman in her mid-twenties who works as a primary school teacher. When she learns that her older brother, Nils, has committed suicide - by jumping from the balcony of his apartment - she struggles to comprehend his death. Few people want to term the incident as suicide and the language surrounding the event fails to encompass what actually happened. The narrator’s mother is adamant that he merely fell from the veranda and others agree that the whole thing was an accident, even after they read his crumpled note. In the letter, Nils explains that he was tired and couldn’t do it anymore and the family inevitably wonder if there was anything they could have done to help.

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