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Novel 11, Book 18 by Dag Solstad
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Novel 11, Book 18 (2001)

by Dag Solstad

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1025181,760 (3.89)6
Bj?rn Hansen, a respectable town treasurer, has just turned fifty and is horrified by the thought that chance has ruled his life. Eighteen years ago he left his wife and their two-year-old son for his mistress, who persuaded him to start afresh in a small, provincial town and to dabble in amateur dramatics. In time that relationship also faded, and after four years of living alone Bj?rn contemplates an extraordinary course of action that will change his life for ever. He finds a fellow conspirator in Dr Schi?tz, who has a secret of his own and offers to help Bj?rn carry his preposterous and dangerous plan through to its logical conclusion. However, the sudden reappearance of his son both fills Bj?rn with new hope and complicates matters. The desire to gamble with his comfortable existence proves irresistible, however, taking him to Vilnius in Lithuania, where very soon he cannot tell whether he's tangled up in a game or reality. Novel 11, Book 18, for which Dag Solstad received the Norwegian Critics' Prize for Literature, is an uncompromising and concentrated existential novel that accommodates all of the author's fundamental themes.… (more)

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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
Bjørn Hansen's horror at the way his life has turned out gives me goosebumps but is also a bit bleh.

I want to say it's "technically brilliant", whatever that means. ( )
  slplst | Jun 23, 2019 |
I read this book because of an LT recommendation. It is without a doubt one of the most disturbing books I've read recently. Solstad writes in a very matter-of-fact style about a man who is living a relatively boring life in a provincial Norwegian town. At times, I thought where is this going and why should I care? Then the man makes an extremely bizarre decision (although its full horrifying details aren't revealed to the reader until the last 10 pages or so). I will be thinking about this book for quite a while because it packs a lot of ideas in its brief, spare pages.
1 vote rebeccanyc | Apr 21, 2010 |
writing and pace of the storytelling, that is what's kept me turning pages. the end bewildered me. ( )
  mariechka | Aug 26, 2009 |
Loathed this book. High rating due to the fact that I can't stop thinking about it, so it must be good? I don't know what I like anymore. ( )
  jennpb | Mar 7, 2009 |
Dag Solstad is perhaps the finest contemporary Norwegian writer, and this novel was awarded the Norwegian Critics' Prize for Literature in 1992. He is the only living Norwegian author to have received this award three times. The English translation of Novel 11, Book 18 was published at the end of last year in the UK, and is not currently available in the US.

The main character, Bjørn Hansen, is a respected government official in a small Norwegian town, who has just turned 50 and has recently separated from his long time partner. Despite his material comforts, he is unsatisfied with his life, and how chance has affected both his life and his relationship with his 29 yr old son from a previous marriage, who comes to live with him while attending university. He invents a plan that will dramatically change his life, and enlists another man in the town to help him carry out this act.

This subtle existential novel is one that I'll be thinking about for a while, and I'm sure I'll revisit it in the near future. I've already ordered another of Mr. Solstad's books that has been translated into English, Shyness and Dignity, and I'll be eagerly awaiting more translations of his works. ( )
2 vote kidzdoc | Feb 8, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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