How to grieve in the shadow of a national grief? In We Welcome You meet Arild and Sella, who each in their own way are coming to terms with having lost a son in a ferry accident. That was eight years ago, but after 22nd July 2011 their grief is reawakened.
This is a novel about the people on the fringes of the national catastrophe who are still drawn into its emotional undercurrent. It is also a love story about two people compelled to make the choices which keep them alive.
‘Evjemo’s writing is brilliant, unpretentious, precise and nuanced. He describes the space between people. The distance. The silent sorrow. The loneliness. The despair. And he has the unique ability to do this subtly, using props with which we are all familiar ... But he also writes about love, unity and a sense of belonging. It's real. It’s important. And it is penned by an author who would appear to be one of the best that Norwegian contemporary literature has to offer.’
‘Everything that was unclear or completely overlooked before is suddenly laid out. Details that you didn’t notice before suddenly become not only visible, but charged with meaning ... He has a unique way of looking at the everyday occurrences, practical details and past events that dominate our lives.’
‘Velkommen til oss doesn’t have any dramatic twists and turns, clichés or caricatures. This is an unassuming novel about loss and grief, and a novel which could easily be read more than once.’
‘One seldom encounters such accomplished writing. Every sentence vibrates with aesthetic delight and existential solemnity.’
‘Evjemo has made several successful attempts to counteract everyday triviality with compositional originality. He writes lyrical, thoughtful passages and allows his characters to enter a monastery or be part of a tragicomic amateur theatre production without giving into the temptation to make fun.’
‘The sorrow is well presented from a clever perspective, and there is not a line too many.’
‘I am a great admirer of Evjemo’s empathetic and cinematic bird’s-eye view and I hope that he goes on to write many more books.’
‘... a considerate and precautionary depiction of people burdened by sorrow, a sorrow that, if it does not completely paralyse them, will change the way in which they relate to each other and themselves. Based on the traumatic events of 22 July on Utøya and in the centre of Oslo, Hofstad Evjemo paints a gentle and sensitive picture of what the trauma that we all feel to varying degrees has done to a few individuals and families – those closest to the victims. He does this indirectly and with the greatest discretion.’
‘... Evjemo is careful with such opportunities, and the result is a sober text, cleverly written in pure style by an author who is able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see things from their usually so inaccessible perspective, and he is successful in this without resorting to shortcuts, constructions or flirting with the reader.’
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