´I had a good upbringing. Father died when I was twelve. Mum went to bed early. I was an only child.´
With these words Lars Saabye Christensen opens his novel, a chamber play set in the broad avenues behind the Royal Palace in mid-1960s Oslo. The narrator describes his upbringing from age 12 to 17, in a home thick with secrets, pretence, silence and sins of omissions.
The father, a patent engineer, takes his own life on page one. The mother subsequently goes to bed for good, leaving the young narrator to grow up in the care of his bony aunt, whose outlook can darken even the brightest day. And in one scene, during a summer holiday, one of the father's investors who is visiting, manages to tell him: 'You are indeed your father's strangest patent.'
Saabye Christensen's novel is about identity and shame. It is beautifully written, dark, and different.
"Ghastly good. This is something as rare as a book that really move you, a book that stands out as something truly unique, just like the protagonist also do."
"...a rutheless highlight in the authorship of Lars Saabye Christensen"
"He is poetic as ever, but reveal a dark dimension that lures us with depths and riddles. We want more of this!"
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