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Hanne Ørstavik

loveI was genuinely very excited to come across this in the poetry section of Foyles on Saturday – I think I may have squeaked with delight. Thank goodness it had been shelved in the wrong place. I read The Blue Room a while ago and loved it, but was disappointed to find that it was the only one of her novels translated from Norwegian into English.

In Love, Ørstavik weaves together the parallel stories of a young single mother and her son, on the eve of his ninth birthday.

I really don’t want to give anything of the plot away, as the novel skillfully creates tension and foreboding through the simple description of seemingly ordinary events.  The prose is clear and lucid, the characterisation is painfully acute and the pacing is wonderful.

If you are going to read it – now is the appropriate time.  At least if you are currently ‘enjoying’ freezing weather conditions.  I read it under a duvet, with my fingers numb with cold, while outside the streets were dusted with snow – which was absolutely perfect.

I’m not sure why the novel is called Love.  It could be called Loneliness.  This novel is the quintessence of loneliness.  It is really beautiful.