Released: April 9, 2018
Hanne har fått nok. Nok av å bu med mann og barn i den gamle, tronge leilegheita, medan alle dei vellykka vennene frå studietida boltrar seg i villa med hage. Men no har draumehuset dukka opp. Romanen følgjer Hanne og mannen Andreas i tida før huset skal seljast. Dei går nøye gjennom prospektet, rom for rom. Samstundes blir samlivet deira kartlagt. Er draumen om huset like mykje eit forsøk på å få forholdet til å henge saman? Kva konsekvensar vil små og store svik frå fortida få for den viktige avgjerda som ligg framfor dei?
Seeing as every Norwegian “books you should read” list last year seemed to have this one on it, I figured Id give it a try, If anything to get to know contemporary Norwegian literature a little better. My takeaway is that I should probably read more contemporary Norwegian books – I really enjoyed this one.
The book is more of a journey of emotions than it is a story: the main character is contemplating buying and moving into a new house, and is forced to confront why she wants to move so badly. With a new and better house comes a promise of a new, and better, life. She’s not satisfied with how things are now, but surely that would all be solved if only she had a bigger house. Right?
I’d file the start of the book under “humour” – the main character is obviously putting way too much hope into how her life would improve if only she lived in a bigger house. But there is something knowing and familiar about it – deep down she knows what she is doing. She’s building an illusion of the life she wants to live. She probably realises they are mostly illusions, but she enjoys it, revels in it, and goes along with it. As readers we nod and laugh along, knowing that we’ve all done similar things in the past, feeling better about ourselves because at least we stopped short of being quite as extreme as this charmingly insufferable main character.
Gradually though, the book takes a turn. The thoughts of what has been, is, and could be, take a bit of a turn as the main characters start examining their relationship in the same light. And when the added pressure of spending a bit more than they can afford on somewhere to live, and questioning whether or not this is something their relationship actually needs, rather than just something they want, gets thrown into the mix, emotions can start running quite high.
This book hit me in quite a few ways, and I can only imagine how much harder if would have hit me if I’d had just a little more in common with the main characters. The premise of the story, the catalyst, is so simple and brilliantly utilised. As a way of exploring exactly these insecurities I can’t imagine it having been done better.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to try out some new Norwegian literature. I’m sure some would enjoy it much more than I did, and I’m sure some wouldn’t enjoy it at all. However, I don’t think anyone could deny that this book really is the best version of itself, and an impressive piece of work.