In contemporary Norwegian fiction Tomas Espedal’s work stands out as uniquely personal; it can be difficult to separate the fiction from Espedal’s own experiences. In that vein, his novel Against Art is not just the story of a boy growing up to be a writer, but it is also the story of writing. Specifically, it is about the profession of writing—the routines, responsibility and obstacles. Yet, Against Art is also about being a father, a son and a grandson; about a family and a family’s tales, and about how preceding generations mark their successors. It is at once about choices and changes, about motion and rest, about moving to a new place and about living.
Watch an interview with the author.
‘One of the most beautiful, most important books I've read for years.’ —Klassekampen
‘Espedal has written an amazingly rich novel, which will assuredly stand out as one of the year’s best and will also further fortify the quality of Norwegian literature abroad.’ —Adresseavisen
‘Against Art attacks literature while at the same time being intensely literary. Our greatest sorrows and torments, the individual experiences often so anemic in art, find a voice of their own.’ —Morgenbladet
‘Against Art moves me with its maternal history and proves yet again that Tomas Espedal writes great novels.’ —Dag og Tid
‘An impressive, multi-layered narrative, of the power and limits of art, of finding one’s place—within a family, as well as a place to live and work—of dealing with grief and ever-changing intimate personal connections, whether abrupt—the death of a loved one—or more gradual—a daughter coming into her own. It is a complete work, yet also feels like a stage, of his life and writing-career [. . .] A quite fascinating, rich, and deeply personal work.’ —The Complete Review
‘Against Art is not ’about’ anything but instead details its own process of creation. The result is a book that is never anything less than interesting, and which reads as an experimental meditation on itself.’ —Edward Sugde, Times Literary Supplement
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