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  • MacLehose Press
  • MacLehose Press

Just a Mother

Roy Jacobsen

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Norway, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Fiction in translation, Rural communities

The fourth novel in a historical series that began with the International Booker-shortlisted The Unseen

"Taken together, Jacobsen has given us an epic of Norway's experience of the first half of the 20th century that is subtle and moving" David Mills, Sunday Times

"Jacobsen can make almost anything catch the light . . . One of Norway's greatest writers on the working class" Times Literary Supplement

A childless island is no island at all.

Ingrid Marie Barroy has returned to the island that bears her name, bringing up her daughter with the other children that came with the war, who will someday raise their own children until an island that was empty is singing once more with life.

And soon another will arrive, a child of the war and an orphan of the peace, whom Ingrid will fight to make her own, and whose interests may, in time, collide with those of certain others on the island, forcing her to make a choice she will long regret.

The sea brings the island all it has - herring for salting, eider ducks for down - but Ingrid knows, has always
known, that one day it may wish to take something back. But until that day, she continues to live by one simple truth:

There is no limit to what you can do with an island, the imagination sets the only limits, as with the sea.

Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw

Reviews for The Unseen

"Even by his high standards, his magnificent new novel The Unseen is Jacobsen's finest to date, as blunt as it is subtle and is easily among the best books I have ever read" Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

"A beautifully crafted novel . . . Quite simply a brilliant piece of work . . . Rendered beautifully into English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, The Unseen is a towering achievement that would be a deserved Booker International winner" Charlie Connelly, New European.

"A profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm" Justine Jordan, Guardian

"The subtle translation, with its invented dialect, conveys a timeless, provincial voice . . . The Unseen is a blunt, brilliant book" Tom Graham, Financial Times.

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Roy Jacobsen

Roy Jacobsen was born in 1954 and is one of the most celebrated and influential contemporary writers in Norway, with his ten novels, four collections of short stories, a biography and a children's book. Among other awards, Roy Jacobsen has won the Bookseller's Prize, the Critic's Prize and in 2006, the Gyldendal Prize for THE BURNT-OUT TOWN OF MIRACLES.

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