The half brother /
by Lars Saabye Christensen ; translated from the Norwegian by Kenneth Steven.
London : Arcadia, 2003.
xv, 766 p. ; 22 cm.
genre index term
More Details
uniform title
London : Arcadia, 2003.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Lars Saabye Christensen, one of Norway's most acclaimed novelists, is the prize-winning author of ten novels as well as short stories and poetry. His works have been published in the United States and throughout Europe, as well as Pakistan. He lives in Norway
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-04-15:
First published in Norway, this intergenerational saga marks Christensen's North American debut. Although readers get a peek into the name-dropping, booze-addled brain of Barnum Nilsen (a washed-up screenwriter), his story is more about those who came before him. Through a series of flashbacks, we are shown which events and people shaped Barnum, e.g., his wild-haired, straight-talking great-grandmother and the enigmatic Arnold Nilsen, both wonderfully clear characters. Rapid-fire dialog without paragraph breaks-not to mention the nonstop unfolding of events-push the story forward. Readers see the catalyst for this tale in the rape and ensuing silence of Barnum's mother, Vera, as she insists on giving birth to the child, who grows into the always angry Fred. Christensen's book was recently chosen for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program, and a compelling discovery it is. Recommended for most public libraries.-Leann Isaac, Jameson Health Syst. Lib., New Castle, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-05-17:
Epic yet startlingly contemporary, this massive novel charts 50 years in the life of an unconventional Oslo family, lighted by gleams of the frozen north and the glow of movie screens. Narrator Barnum, an award-winning screenwriter, retraces his family's history, which begins with the rape of his mother, Vera, as a young girl at the end of World War II. From this crime, Barnum's half-brother, Fred, is conceived. Fred is angry, prone to mood swings and outbursts of verbal cruelty. But he is also street-smart, self-reliant and fiercely-if erratically-protective of Barnum, a small, sensitive boy who never grows to full height. The boys live with Vera and an extended family of spirited, loving women, including the Old One, Barnum's great grandmother (a former silent movie actress), and his beer-drinking grandmother, Boletta. Barnum's father is Arnold Nilsen, an itinerant con man, who woos and marries Vera. When Barnum is almost grown up, unpredictable Fred goes to sea and disappears, leaving Barnum angry and confused. Barnum finds companionship and love through his relationships with friends Peder and Vivian, eventually marrying Vivian, but their connection unravels, particularly with Vivian's pregnancy-a pregnancy that torments Barnum, who is secretly infertile. Barnum's conflicted, complicated love for his brother anchors the novel, but Christensen tenderly explores all sorts of human connection, examining the emotions aroused by absence and persistence, and the complex nature of family and forgiveness. Like Peter Nadas's Book of Memories and Peter Esterhazy's Celestial Harmonies, this is a challenging, marvelously rich novel steeped in European history and charged by present-day anxieties. (May) Forecast: Already an international bestseller (rights have been sold in 25 countries), The Half Brother is likely to be one of the literary must-reads of the summer. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
San Francisco Chronicle, May 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This novel follows the lives of four generations in a far from ordinary family in 1950s Oslo. This is a haunting novel about friendship and loneliness, as well as a poignant portrayal of life in an Oslo tenement building.
Main Description
Winner of the Nordic Prize 2002, The Half Brother has already sold more than 150,000 copies in Norway alone and is set to become an international sensation within the year. This literary marvel tells the story of an ordinary Norwegian family in the 1960s, set apart by extraordinary family members, and of two half-brothers leading very different and separate lives, until they are brought together again at their mother's deathbed... 'At Frankfurt, Arcadia trounced rivals with a pre-emptive bid for World English rights to The Half-Brother' - Bookseller
Table of Contents
Translator's Notep. vii
Prologuep. 1
The Last Manuscript
The Festivalp. 9
The Women
The Drying Loftp. 31
The Apartmentp. 35
The Dovep. 39
The Ringp. 41
The Telegraph Exchangep. 55
The Buttonp. 65
Springp. 77
The Clockp. 81
Blasenp. 95
The Namep. 99
A Suitcase of Applause
The Windp. 107
The Laughterp. 141
Baptismp. 163
The Name of Silencep. 185
The Obituaryp. 221
The Divine Comedyp. 229
Barnum's Rulerp. 245
The Molep. 265
The North Polep. 289
Dancing Schoolp. 299
The Treep. 327
The Parcelp. 335
Nudep. 343
The Labyrinthp. 351
The Coffinp. 359
The Accidentp. 373
Discus and Deathp. 379
Funeralp. 395
Punishmentp. 407
Hungerp. 481
Fatteningp. 547
The Electric Theater
The Nameplatep. 569
The Half Darkp. 583
Barnum's Divine Comedyp. 591
Yet Another Empty Tablep. 605
The Last Picturep. 615
Parasol in Snowp. 619
Row 14, Seats 18, 19 and 20p. 629
Suedep. 637
Dregsp. 645
The Vikingp. 651
The Cormorantp. 671
Tempelhofp. 677
Epiloguep. 681
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem