Author:Hanne Orstavik

Publisher: Archipelago Books


Hanne Orstavik, author of Love, is Norwegian. (2018, insert) She wrote her first book at the tender age of 16. (Cut, published in 1994) She has penned a number or novels that have been translated into sixteen (16) languages. Orstavik won the Doblong Prize, an annual contest for fiction writers hosted by the Swedish Academy for authors who hail from Norway and/or Sweden. Martin Aitken translated this book.

This book takes many twists and turns. They are all somewhat unexpected and provide insight into the main characters, a mother (Vibeke) and her son (Jon). Vibeke is not the best of mothers, she seems to care more about her dreamy world than reality oftentimes forgetting things about her son, Jon. She wanders from place to place meeting men whom she fancies having some type of relationship with, but are usually one night stands.

Vibeke loves the library. Reading is her escape from whatever her real world asks her to manage day to day. When the library is closed she is nearly despondent. She cares little where her son goes as she flits along on her own journey toward whatever she feels compelled to venture toward. Therefore, he meets young girls, visits with them in their homes, and is never asked to be home at any special time.

It appears that Vibeke and Jon live life in parallel instead of being connected in the traditional sense of family and familial responsibilities. Their relationship, if it can be called a relationship, lacks warmth and love that are the very foundation of most mother and son relationships. If their lives intersect it is almost by accident and not at all planned. Each drifting from one thought and experience to the next. Both chasing love in the most indirect and surprising sense.

Love leaves the reader wondering what Vibeke and Jon will do as they both attempt to connect to other humans so they might experience, even if only for a short period of time, something close to love or caring. Neither quite know what to do or how to give or receive it. Read it. Learn from it. I did.