Olavs drømme, Kvældsvævd and Bådehuset by Jon Fosse

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Title: Olavs drømme and Kvældsvævd
Author:  Jon Fosse
Publisher: Batzer & Co
Release Date: 2015 (org. 2012)
Rating: 5/5

Parts two and three of Jon Fosse’s award-winning trilogy about the plights and dreams of a young, poor couple in 19th century Norway. Everything I said about part one, although that wasn’t not much, applies here too. The incredible thing is that these are even better. The language is the same, no full stops anywhere, but the story becomes more haunting and beautiful with every twist and turn. Jon Fosse’s ability to deal with the biggest issues in life in such few pages and such simplistic language is mind-blowing. He seems to be big in Norway and he deserves to be big everywhere else too. I’m not going to reveal anything about the story because you need to read this yourselves. If you read Danish or Norwegian, there is no excuse to not read Fosse. Seriously, get going.

Title: Bådehuset
Author:  Jon Fosse
Publisher: Batzer & Co
Release Date: 2007 (org. 1989)
Rating: 4/5

Apparently Fosse was just as wonderful back in the 80’s when he wrote this short novel. The language is reminiscent of that of the trilogy, though he does use full stops, which makes for a slightly less dizzying read. The story is, again, fairly straight forward. The narrator lives in a house with his mother, never leaves the house anymore and has decided to write. He writes about his childhood and his then best friend. Slowly more and more details about their friendship and its end emerge. One day his ex-friend is back in town with wife and kids, and the drama unfolds. Slowly. I won’t give too much away, because the way the story is constructed is what makes this book amazing. Again, why the heck isn’t Fosse bigger in Denmark than he is? I just don’t get it. Read this, and even if you find the story dull, keep going. The last part of the book is ingenious.

Christmas books

Surprisingly enough, I ended up getting all the books I wanted for Christmas! Ok, all minus one, and I ended up buying most of them myself, but I did find the top four ones under the tree, which was more than plenty as far as Christmas gifts go! They included this gorgeous edition of Catch-22. I’m not a hardback or special editions type of person, but this is just too good to pass.

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It has numerous strange illustrations and it’s just perfect! The customer service at Folio Society is severely lacking, though, so only order if you really really want it.

The rest of the books were

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ChI’ve finished four of them so far. I can’t wait to start the Knausgård ones, but that will have to wait until I finish volume 6 of My Struggle.

Knausgård led me to Jon Fosse and I’ve read three of his books in December (not such an impressive feat as they’re 75 pages long on average), and that led me to Johannes V. Jensen, just to try something Danish and classic. So tomorrow I’ll be going out and trying to find other great Scandinavian writers. It’s a fairly new area for me, so who knows what I’ll end up with.

Anyway, a Happy New Year to you and maybe your Goodreads 2016 challenge always be “on track”.

 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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Title: A Christmas Carol
Author:  Charles Dickens
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 2013 (orig. 1843)
Rating: 3/5

I’m sure a lot of you have never heard about this story, so I’ll recap it!

Ebenezer Scrooge is the man with the coolest first name in the history of literature. He’s also wealthy, so he has a few things going for him. His wealth; however, makes him very unpopular. Let’s be honest, people are jealous. Scrooge handles this jealousy by being a bit of a scrooge, at least in the eyes of his employee and his nephew and the nephew’s family.

On Christmas Eve, after a one coal-heated debate about paid vacation time, Scrooge goes home to his huge and empty house. And he starts seeing things. First he sees the face of his old partner, Jacob Marley, in the door knocker. And a moment later, the ghost of Marley himself joins Ebenezer in his room. Ebenezer tries to dismiss this phenomenon as being indegestion. But the ghost will have none of it and tells Scrooge that he needs to stop scrooging if he wants to escape a fate like Marley’s. Apparently, Jacob was a selfish and greedy prick and got what was coming to him in the afterlife, where he now has to wander purposelessly around for ages and ages. But he must have liked Scrooge well enough, because he tries to save him by saying he’ll send three other ghosts to freak out Scrooge the following three nights. It’s all very christmassy indeed!

The first ghost is the Ghost of Christmas Past. It arrives at a certain time on the first night. This spirit shows Scrooge how his past Christmasses were sometimes sad and lonely, and sometimes fun and warm. This varying degree of happiness was more than Scrooge could handle and obviously explains how he became such a jerk.

Scrooge goes back to sleep, as one would naturally do after traveling around one’s past with a ghost. The next ghost arrives at another predetermined hour and Scrooge is ready for him. It’s the Ghost of Christmas Present. He’s a jolly old fellow who loves horns of plenty. He shows Ebenezer what Christmas is like right now, and also does a bit of spoiling as he shows E how Tiny Tim (son of his employee) will die if things remain the way they are now. Ebenezer is a very nice guy and is tremendously concerned about the crippled boy’s welfare from the get-go. The surplus population no longer weighs heavily on Ebenezer’s mind. We also see how his nephew and family all have a wonderful Christmas full of games and mockery of Scrooge. Scrooge, being a proud man, is very annoyed by this and vows to disown his nephew even more. Ok, not really.

The ghost disappears and leaves Ebenezer with the scariest ghost of them all; the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. It doesn’t speak and takes its fashion advice from the grim reaper. As you may have guessed, the future is set to bring nothing but death: Tiny Tim dies, which everyone is very sad about, and Ebenezer dies, which everyone is fairly pleased with.

And back in the bedroom we are, the ghosts have left and Ebenezer is a changed man. Luckily, the ghosts ran on different times, so instead of being three different nights, it’s still Christmas! Intend on changing the future, he buys a grotesquely huge turkey for his nephew + family and gives his tardy employee a surprise raise, more coal and such. He laughs and laughs. Tim says something quotable and everyone is happy.

Review? It’s pretty dull, as Dickens always is. I was hoping the Christmas theme would mask the bore, but alas.

I’d recommend the Muppet version as Michael Caine gives great Ebenezer and the songs are better.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!