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Our Translated Book of the Month: Termin by Henrik Nor-Hansen (Nordisk Books), translated by Matt Bagguley

Posted on May 01, 2019 by Cristina Peligra | 0 comments

A short but very powerful book awaits you this month. A social inquiry, a shocking, horrifying story. Add to your reading list our Translated Book of the Month, the thought-provoking Termin: An Inquiry into Violence in Norway by Henrik Nor-Hansen, translated by Matt Bagguley and published by Nordisk Books, a Whitstable-based independent publisher bringing new insight into modern and contemporary Scandinavian literature.

 

“At that point he was barely recognisable.…The investigation seemed to be low priority. Kjetil’s family gradually lost hope. In late August the case got some renewed interest, when a six-year-old boy was almost stoned to death.…People now believed that Hommersåk was losing its innocence.”

 

It was 1998. Kjetil Tuestad lived in Hommersåk, Stavanger, in Norway. He was 26 years old and was an electrician at Rosenberg Shipyard. He had just got married to Ann Elisabet. Then something happened. On midsummer night, he was beaten up brutally. He was found severely injured and unconscious on the town’s outskirts: Kjetil had concussion, facial fractures, among which three in the jaw, blood in his middle ear, breakages to the ribcage.

 

“They had rarely seen this kind of violence at Hommersåk.…The police believed that the Tuestad family should not have any high expectations. Cases like this often ended up being dropped.”

 

Nor-Hansen’s short text is an inquiry into Kjetil’s case, an exploration of socio-economic causes and effects, both on the area and of course on the protagonist’s own life, which was forever affected socially and psychologically by the tragic events narrated in the book. It is an inquiry into the meanings of and reasons behind violence and its expression. 

Termin (Nordisk Books, 2019), front cover.

 

Published in Norway in 2016 (as Termin. En fremstelling av vold i Norge) by Tiden Norsk Forla, this book was nominated for the prestigious Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2017, and is the first book by Nor-Hansen to be translated into English. 

 

Read our interview with the translator Matt Bagguley to learn more about the book and its journey into English.

 

Image credit: Nordisk Books

 

Meet Nordisk Books and author Henrik Nor-Hansen at WhitLit, Whitstable Literary Festival, on 12th May 2019. Nordisk will be launching their forthcoming books, Termin (23rd May 2019) and Transfer Window – the utopian reimagining of wealthy suburbs north of Copenhagen as a walled, luxurious hospice for the terminally ill – by Maria Gerhardt, translated by Lindy Falk van Rooyen. The author Maria Gerhardt, who died of cancer in 2017, is being represented on 12th May by her editor Pernille Wass. Check the event’s website and Facebook page for more information.

 

 

For sources and further information:
https://norla.no/nb/books/919-deadline-a-portrayal-of-violence-in-norway
https://www.norden.org/en/literature-prize
http://www.nordiskbooks.com/
http://www.tiden.no/
https://www.whitlit.co.uk/
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