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Articles tagged "Norwegian Literature"

On Translating \“The Art of Falling\”

Daniel Hahn and Briony Everroad opened this month’s issue of Words Without Borders by mentioning the “thick fog of casual snobbery” that surrounds literature for young adults. Thankfully, it would appear that this fog may be very slowly lifting, at least where Norwegian readers and critics are concerned. Inga Sætre’s graphic novel The Art of Falling was awarded the Brage Prize in 2011 and was longlisted in a recent poll of the nation’s top books for young...

The Art of Falling

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How can anyone predict the future if it's not already mapped out?


A Telephone Conversation

Dear little squirrel, can you hear me, do you understand what I say when I talk to you, can you feel me lifting you, as we cross the yard together in order to bury you in the ditch where the soil is soft and black, do you hear the insects, the breath of wind, do you think; what is eternity? What does eternity mean? Maybe the fleeting shadow when a plane passes, the sluggish rain. Can you perceive that I’m thinking about you, about how you no longer exist, that you no longer...

Impromptu

When the snow covers your grave you have forgotten the snow. Translation of “Impromptu.” Copyright 1994 by Rune Christiansen. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Agnes Scott Langeland. All rights reserved.

The Dogs in Thessaloniki

We had our morning coffee in the garden. We scarcely said a word.  Beate got up and put the cups on a tray.  We might as well put the chairs up on the veranda, she said.  What for? I said.  It looks like rain, she said.  Rain? I said, there's not a cloud in the sky.  There's a nip in the air, she said, can’t you feel it?  No, I said. Maybe I’m wrong, she said.  She went up the veranda steps and into the living room. I remained...

Gob

I saw her again today. She came out from the liquor store in Majorstua, the bottles pushed down into a worn brown bag, and I sensed shame, shame is the only word I can use—shame. It was twenty years since I’d seen her last. Georg and I had been to the Frogner Baths. We’d taken the plunge from the tenth board for the first time and were a bit sore. But we were walking on air—by heck were we—we were world champs. Some girls from the same year at school had been standing by the...

Martin Hansen’s Outing

Walking back to the house one Friday in early August, late in the afternoon, I suddenly felt tired as though I had been carrying something heavy, although all I had been doing was tying up some raspberry stakes. When I reached the stoop, I sat down on the bottom step, thinking: After all there's no one at home anyway. A moment later I heard voices coming from inside the living room, and before I had time to get to my feet, my daughter Mona said: Oh, are you sitting here? I stood up...

MS Hitra

Captain Jonasen followed the dotted line in the atlas with his finger. What he would do after Buenos Aires he didn't know. As far as he was concerned life could end there. He closed the atlas with a bang and lit his pipe. It would soon be midnight and it was dark in the captain's cabin. He listened and waited. But no engines started up. All he could hear was the wind whistling through the air vent. And he didn't know exactly what he was in fact waiting for any more, either. He...

Dr. Gordeau

I When the plane has almost come to rest, he sees an angel. The angel is sitting right at the back of the small baggage train on its way across the runway. A young man. Or a woman? Longish hair. His eyes. Frightened? Happy? Is he raising his hand? The next time he looks out, the case the angel was sitting on has fallen off. The baggage train continues on its unsteady journey. The case is black. Locked. The kind that holds a musical instrument. The plane follows a course of red and...

How Is One to Hang Up?

It should be well known that the voices can be piercing, but they also have inside curves I can't negotiate They run rings around me, I can't take them I grow smaller and rounder at the edges with each day I listen and listen I'm the switchboard for sensitive words What am I to say into seven lines at the same time? My head whirrs, thoughts a mess, speech mangled in a maze of angles Whether someone's phishing by phone? Whether someone's messing up my...

Let the Small Words Come to Me

Let the small words come to me Don't let the demanding ones stop them If I get everything I have a right to, but not love, then I get too little Praised be the children I will never have enough of Praised be the children I will never have Praised be life that I cannot invent Praised be poems that I cannot write Let the small words come to me For the author's "How Is One to Hang Up?" please click here.

from “Out Stealing Horses”

We were going out stealing horses. That was what he said, standing at the door to the cabin where I was spending the summer with my father. I was fifteen. It was 1948 and one of the first days of July. Three years earlier the Germans had left, but I can't remember that we talked about them any longer. At least my father did not. He never said anything about the war. Jon came often to our door, at all hours, wanting me to go out with him: shooting hares, walking through the forest in...

Ambulance

I'm lying on my back in the ambulance, firmly strapped to the stretcher and we're driving very fast through town, somebody's placed an oxygen mask over my mouth, and the man sitting next to me in a red and yellow jacket, who goes constantly from watching me to watching his bleeping instruments, asks me if I can hear him, but doesn't wait for an answer, and he flicks various switches, attaches things to my body, to my chest, he yells out to the ambulance driver, "Faster,...

The Bergkvist Sisters

  I've had a lot of time lately, and I've been thinking about the King and Queen. They were Crown Prince and Princess then, of course, but what if they hadn't had a son second time around? Would they have just had to keep going? There's got to be a boy after all, hasn't there, a future king? Imagine the Crown Princess after giving birth eight times, after the eighth girl she'd have looked totally exhausted. That's how things were for Ellen anyway....

from Night Sings Its Songs

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: Natta Syng Sine Songar by Jon Fosse was first presented by the Rogaland Theatre in Stavanger, Norway in 1997. The English translation, Night Sings Its Songs, was translated and directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde for the U.S. debut of the play, and was first presented by Oslo Elsewhere, The Unbound Theatre, and Spring Theatreworks at the Culture Project's 45 Bleecker Theatre - 45 Below in New York City on June 5, 2004. Yah = Norwegian "ja" = yes Yah = American...

Chlorine

I have been weighed and found wanting. It's nearly two o'clock, the last lesson of the day, and I am standing at the back of the diving board, right on its edge, and in front of me are the others, others who are going to dive, and soon it will be my turn. But it's impossible. Come what may. I know it. But I've got to do it. This is the final dress rehearsal. The last chance but one. I must walk out onto the diving board, bend my knees and push out with all my strength,...

To

And our house is down there too. See it, down there? There, just behind the school, there, I say pointing, but nobody answers, and when I stop talking I can hear only the sound of air around me, wind, it's blustery and I zip up my jacket, peer over the edge, it's a long way down, and there below me the lights have come on, and I turn up the gas so that the balloon keeps rising, it's not snowing, I am on the way up, the snow has stopped and below me, down there, is the...

Waterproof

Each day that whole summer, apart from the week when she was to learn to swim, Andrea stood at the quay and waited as the Prince drew in to land. It wasn't the passengers she wanted to see, as they came along the gangway with all their luggage-cases, rucksacks, and great parcels from town wrapped in brown paper. It wasn't the ice-cream man who held an interest for her, the man who used fingerless gloves and put on a hat with earflaps each time he opened the freezer that he called...

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