WINNER OF THE SWEDISH ACADEMY'S NORDIC PRIZE 2017
'He’s a kind of surrealistic writer... I think that’s serious literature' Haruki Murakami
‘An utterly hypnotic and utterly humane writer’ James Wood
'Without question Norway's bravest, most intelligent novelist' Per Petterson
'Dag Solstad serves up another helping of his wan and wise almost-comedy' Geoff Dyer
'He doesn’t write to please other people. Do exactly what you want, that’s my idea...the drama exists in his voice' Lydia Davis
Bjørn Hansen, a respectable town treasurer, has just turned fifty and is horrified by the thought that chance has ruled his life. Eighteen years ago he left his wife and their two-year-old son for his mistress, who persuaded him to start afresh in a small, provincial town and to dabble in amateur dramatics. But as time passes, this relationship begins to wilt and die as well.
After four years of living comfortably alone, Bjørn starts entertaining a dangerous course of action that will change his life beyond recognition. This urge to gamble with his comfortable existence becomes irresistible, taking Bjørn to Vilnius, Lithuania, with Dr Schiøtz his fellow conspirator, where he cannot tell whether he’s tangled up in a game or an absurd new reality.
It is Christmas Eve, and 55-year-old Professor Pål Andersen is alone, drinking coffee and cognac in his living room. Lost in thought, he looks out of the window and sees a man strangle a woman in the apartment across the street.
Professor Andersen fails to report the crime. The days pass, and he becomes paralysed by indecision. Desperate for respite, the professor sets off to a local sushi bar, only to find himself face to face with the murderer.
Professor Andersen's Night is an unsettling yet highly entertaining novel of apathy, rebellion and morality. In flinty prose, Solstad presents an uncomfortable question: would we, like his cerebral protagonist, do nothing?
Nothing in Elias' measured life, in his whole career as a teacher of literature, in his marriage to the 'indescribably beautiful' Eva, foreshadowed the events of that apparently ordinary day. He makes sure he has his headache pills and leaves for work as he has done every morning for the past twenty-five years.
He is only too familiar with his pupils' hostile attitude both to his lectures and to himself, but today he feels their impatience, their oafishness, more painfully than ever before and, after their ritually dismissive and bored response to his passionate lecture on Ibsen's The Wild Duck, he reaches a point of crisis.
Shyness and Dignity is the story of a man's awakening to a world that no longer recongises what he has always stood for or his talent. Dag Solstad is Norway's leading author, an icon among Scandinavian writers and a leading figure of the political left. This novel, in Sverre Lyngstad's fine translation, is one of Solstad's major works.
Dag Solstad is one of Norway's leading contemporary authors. His work has consistently won critical acclaim and he is the only author to have received the Norwegian Literary Critics' Award three times. All three of his novels available in English have been listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize: Shyness and Dignity was shortlisted in 2007 and Novel 11, Book 18 and Professor Andersen's Night were longlisted for the 2009 and 2012 prizes respectively.