Seventeen-year-old Mathilde goes to the country with her mother and stepfather to get her deceased grandmother's house ready for sale. It is here that she meets neighbour Aslak, finds a dead animal in the forest, follows her friend on Facebook, reads Japanese comics and cohabits with an unstable mother and drunkard stepfather. She also rediscovers the dream world she invented when she was little: the forest in the wallpaper at her grandmother's house. A world that, with its safety and innocence, is in direct contrast with the reality to which she otherwise relates.
Stig Beite Løken's world may remind some of the worlds we encounter in Ricky Moody's The Ice Storm and films such as Fish Tank. It is with a good sense of the challenges that Mathilde faces in recognising that she is alone in the world that the author depicts a strong and vulnerable young woman.
‘In his novel Skogen i tapetet, Stig Beite Løken has drawn a painfully credible portrait of a young girl who is trying keep it together.’
‘There’s not a lot resembling healthy young people here. Nevertheless, many of the hair-raising events are described with striking normalcy; one of the strengths of the book is how Mathilde’s life is depicted with its limitations and its scope of action. … Stig Beite Løken’s approach is as simple as taking his character seriously, and as it is true that people focus on the most peculiar aspects of their lives, this approach is quite gripping.’
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