Shortlisted for the 2017 Brage Prize
Fanny, a 17-year-old high school senior, has lost both her parents in a car accident. Granted permission to live independently in the family home located on the outskirts of a small Norwegian town, she passes the days performing her unchanging routine: going to school, maintaining the house, chopping and stacking wood, and keeping the weeds at bay. As Fanny grieves and attempts to come to terms with the sad circumstances of her life, a fairy tale-like world full of new possibilities begins to emerge around her.
Written by Rune Christiansen, one of Norway’s most exciting literary talents, and masterfully translated by Kari Dickson, Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest is a beautiful, poetic portrait of grief, friendship, independence, and transgression.
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Praise for Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest:
“Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest is among the saddest and most uplifting books I’ve read. This story of a grieving young woman is told in short bursts of lustrous writing crisp as aquavit that leave the reader seeing the world anew. Christiansen is taking on the big themes, love and death, but I know what side he’s on.” —Michael Redhill, Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author of Bellevue Square
“Rune Christiansen’s Fanny and the Mystery of the Grieving Forest is one of those special stories I find myself petting once I’ve finished, as if it were a wee forest creature I have fallen in love with. A shimmering musing on grief, Fanny is both ecstatic fairytale and Gothic novel—beguiling, haunting, and erotic in equal measure. There are very few books I would put in the category of heart places, but this is certainly one.”
—Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, author of All the Broken Things
“An exquisitely written novel of grief. Rune Christiansen shows yet again why he is one of Norway’s leading literary stylists. Reading him is a pleasure unlike any other.”
“Christiansen’s stylistic confidence and authoritative writing lift the text to a level rarely reached in Norwegian contemporary literature. Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest deserves not only literary prizes but also an audience far greater than Norway.”
—Dag og Tid
“A magnificent novel. Gripping, poetic and thought-provoking. 6/6 stars.”
Read an excerpt from Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest —Lit Hub
The Last Girl On The Moon: An excerpt from Rune Christiansen’s Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest —PRISM International
“These fragments are sharper-edged than they seem, and the juxtaposition of whimsical feeling with an evocative handling of depression leads this novel toward its powerful, haunting conclusion.”—Tobias Caroll, Words Without Borders
Character Study: Fanny and the Mystery in the Grieving Forest —All Lit U
Interview with Rune Christiansen —Off the Shelf, Thunder Bay Public Library
Normality Becomes Madness: Trauma in Contemporary Nordic Speculative Fiction —Katie Smith, Los Angeles Review of Books
Kari Dickson – Translator of the Month —Norwegian Literature Abroad (NORLA) blog
“Fanny is an interesting character who plays by her own rules when it comes to continuing life without those she loves.” —Paul Sutter, Shelf Life
“Something about the attitude or feeling of the book appeals to me greatly: the way the story is written, the forest, the feeling of hidden folklore, the matter-of-factness. Life is overwhelming and difficult, but no one said it was meant to be easy, and, in the middle of it all, there is something moving and beautiful to read about.” —2020 Book Review, Jennifer Morag Henderson, author of Josephine Tey: A Life
Rune Christiansen is a Norwegian poet and novelist. One of Norway’s most important literary writers, he is the author of more than 20 books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. He has won many prestigious awards, including the 2014 Brage Prize for his bestselling novel, The Loneliness in Lydia Erneman’s Life. He is also a professor of creative writing. Rune lives just outside of Oslo, Norway.
Kari Dickson is a literary translator. She translates from Norwegian, and her work includes crime fiction, literary fiction, children’s books, theatre and nonfiction. She is also an occasional tutor in Norwegian language, literature and translation at the University of Edinburgh, and has worked with BCLT and the Writers’ Centre Norwich. She lives in Edinburgh.