Fredrik Lilleby’s novel The Most Prominent Thomas Mann Expert in Norway is a novel about sexual and romantic relationships, the possibilities and limitations of literature, lives, lived and unlived, desire and gratification, transgression and regret. Helge Kaspersen is the chief district judge at Fløtterud court, well into his fifties and married to Randi. Thomas Mann has been his favourite author his whole adult life, largely due to Mann’s supressed homosexuality, desires that Helge Kaspersen has realised he shares. He is looking forward to a two-month sabbatical from his position as district judge, during which time he plans to write a 150-to-200-page book about Thomas Mann. To also try to “do something about” his own homoerotic desires, he creates a profile on the dating app Grindr and eventually meets someone he likes. The sabbatical doesn’t turn out quite like he had envisioned.
To the top