Sivert Nesbø debuted in 2013 with his novel Skårgangar, which was well received by critics. This spring will see the publication of his second novel, which, although not dissimilar to his debut novel, has a completely different existential concern as its main premiss.
The novel starts by telling us about two brothers, still children, who are heading out at dawn. They intend to hunt down cormorants, but it quickly becomes clear that the brothers are very different. Whilst the elder is focused and earnest, the younger is more impressionable and aware of his surroundings.
However, in Sivert Nesbø's books, we never keep the same narrator for long. We get to hear the family's story from several perspectives. First we meet the father, Lars, and then the mother, Ingrid. It transpires that they have lost a daughter who was born some time between the elder and younger brother, and this has affected them so profoundly that they sometimes almost cannot cope.
This manifests in several ways. It is only the elder son who knows what happened, whereas the younger son has no idea why the atmosphere at home is so changeable. Sivert Nesbø uses uniquely poetic language that lifts these lowly lives to something greater and shows how appreciative we are of nature.
‘The quality of a book has nothing to do with the number of events or the plot, but the tone set by the text and how it reverberates in the reader’s head. Through simple means, Nesbø creates a slow-moving, sensible and observant prose that only extends over eighty pages. … this is prose at a high literary level.’
‘There is nothing superfluous in this short novel. But neither does the short format limit the quality of the content or scope of the story. Som eit barn is a confident follow-up to his debut Skårganger last year. It is a humble novel; a novel that quietly, sensitively and confidently communicates family relationships in a difficult situation.’
‘Sivert N. Nesbø is a craftsman, a master of describing the distance between people. … this is what Sivert N. Nesbø is good at: what lies beneath, the introspection and loneliness that is rarely voiced, but which is observed and considered in silence.’
DAG OG TID
‘In Nesbø’s difficult second book, Som eit barn, he follows up on his distinctive style from his critically-acclaimed debut, Skårganger. … The language is poetic, but never sentimental, rough yet nuanced. … The deep seriousness and empathy – which plays host to deep care – with which Nesbø writes give the novel the necessary lift that all authors seek, often in vain. But in the case of Nesbø, he has now convinced us that he is here to stay.’
‘Definitely a beautiful and lyrical novel. The story isn’t dramatic, written in a vague yet traumatic past. A considerate second book from an author in the process of finding his niche, but who is doing it really quite well.’
‘The book’s strength is the lack of superficial issues and the descriptions of nature. The emotions are anchored in the nature, and this gives the text a kind of simple harmony. It is difficult to refrain from drawing parallels to the well-known Norwegian author Tarjei Vesaas’ sincere descriptions of human problems in minimalistic surroundings, adorned with a love for nature. After reading this short novel, you will have a feeling of insight. An insight into brutal death beautifully described.’
To the top