Tuesday, June 07, 2005

For reading: Norwegian authors

The exams are over!

And now what?

There is always loads that I would like to do, read and accomplish while I am tied to the university. As the exams draw to an end and I find myself wonderfully freed from duties and deadlines, all the time on my hands seems to drown me - at least for a few days. I just don't know what to do with the blank days presented to me. But that usually doesn't last very long. Some days of the week I work in a large book store, check out its website: http://www.norli.no
To be surrounded by books gives a good feeling. Books can be better friends than many people.

I would like to recommend some Norwegian authors that probably aren't too famous in the rest of the world:

  • A real writer, a truth-seeking novelist with a poet's pen is Knut Hamsun.
    Many of his books are translated to English, German and other languages. He even received the Nobel Prize of literature in 1920. The books Pan, Mysterier (Mysteries) and Markens grøde (Growth of the Soil) are amongst his very best. In addition to the clear, lyric language these books also express some sort of national "ground tone" - a sort of Norwegian voice, sea-blue and tree-green.
  • Olav H. Hauge is a poet from Hardanger, the green garden of the west of Norway, dramatically situated between high mountains and narrow fjords. Most of his life he worked as a gardener, but at heart he truly was a poet. His often short, simple poems stretch out in your mind as they unfold. As simple as they may seem, there is depth and width beyond all oceans. In addition to this simpleness, he has an extensive knowledge of the world's literature, of Chinese poets and other authors. All of this shines through his poems. Visit www.norli.no or www.amazon.com to check out English and Norwegian books by this author.
  • Henrik Ibsen is of course not to be forgotten. This playwrite is famous throughout most of the world - at least by people who take an interest to the scene. One of my favourites amongst his plays is Peer Gynt. Ibsen himself called this piece a "dramatic poem" and left it for the next centuries' public to discuss what this really means. Although Peer Gynt mostly is presented as a play on a stage of some kind, this piece is just as good recited, listened to or silently read by yourself. In this dramatic poem (it's all on rhyme!) Ibsen has captured some of the Norwegian people's soul, for good and for worse. The drama of the landscape is reflected in the minds and deeds of the characters, mostly so in Peer himself. He is a dreamer, a boaster and a storyteller, but soft-hearted and kind as well. His wild tales and infortunate actions lead him into some real trouble. At one point he has to flee into the mountains, and there he meets the Mountain King - a troll of some kind. Peer has to flee from this one too, as he has dishonoured the Mountain King's daughter and the way they live. From now on, Peer Gynt faces a wild trip around the world (or so it seems). This story is exciting, poetic, musical, mysterious, wondrous and sometimes breathtaking. It would absolutely be better to read this play in Norwegian, but as not many people speak Ibsen's own language, it is good to know that Peer Gynt has been translated into many, many languages. Go to the library and see if it exists in your language!
  • A Swedish poet worth reading and rereading is Tomas Tranströmer. He is still alive and productive. Through him we meet blue and brown simplicity, the lucid joy of ordinary life. And the mysterious darkness we all carry in us. Somewhere in his poems you are bound to meet yourself.