Lotte Bøk teaches at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. She is passionate about Brecht, whose work she describes with great empathy to her drama students. One day senior student Tage Bast asks to film some of the teachers at work, but also outside of the academy. He wants to visit them at home to find out whether there is any correlation between their lives and their teaching.
What happens when you feel terribly exposed? When you see yourself through someone else's merciless gaze? The Teacher's Song is a novel about self- understanding being challenged.
Excerpt from The Teacher's Song: On 10 April 2016, Lotte Bøk left her old house by the Aker River and went to work at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, not knowing how her life would change over the next few weeks due to what others might consider chance. She walked down Blåmanngata, the sun high in the blue April sky. She was wearing overalls, a choice some people might think was (overly) brave for a woman of 57. But she bore her age well. She was light on her feet and sound of body, something she thought had to be more important than whether there were any lines on her forehead.
So The teacher’s song is never a meta-novel about writing, but a pertinent tale about self-examination and change for Lotte Bøk, the reader and the author herself; about inspecting the relationship between theory and practice before the mirror of the individual’s life. All this in commendably clear language and a consistently controlled plot, and with a protagonist in the process of approaching ‘integrity in what she expresses’.
Vigdis Hjort shines in her examination of the relationship between thought and action. The teacher’s song is honed on the present, it discusses what is happening in the world now, but maintains a literary ambiguity that makes it possible to consider the course of the novel in many different ways. She does not lock up the story with ideas but opens them to further complexity.
… Hjorth is one of our best, most interesting contemporary writers – always intellectually curious and seductive, always tremendously eloquent and, not least, always brave.
An ambiguous novel with subtle humour
In the ongoing war between art and reality, Vigdis Hjort offers a witty and mildly satirical novel.
A brilliant little novel (…) Vigdis Hjorth at her best.
It doesn’t just deal with art and private life but also with art and political life, and the ethical discussion is both tolerant and nuanced.
Her writing is at once compelling and analytical. She raises her gaze from the intimately private to the global (…) it is unsettling and still it is commendable.
This book is for you if: you’re interested in what happens when experience becomes art and if you like thinking when you read novels.
In The teacher’s song, the topic is relevant, the language playful and original.
DAG OG TID
A great little novel (…) it picks away at language, at habitual thinking, discusses how far art, philosophy, ideology can truly show the way in life.