Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9199
September 9, 1999
Norwegian Author Per Petterson to Read
Norwegian author Per Petterson will read from his work on Friday, October 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Mumford Room of the Library of Congress Madison Building, sixth floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Kristin Brudevoll, director of Norwegian Literature Abroad, will provide an introduction and commentary. No tickets are required. The event is sponsored by the Library's European Division and the Royal Embassy of Norway as part of Norwegian Visions, a nationwide array of cultural programs through 2000.
Per Petterson, born in 1952, was trained as a librarian, and has been a bookseller, writer and translator. Mr. Petterson made his literary debut in 1987 with a critically acclaimed short story collection, Aske i munnen, sand i skoa (Ash in His Mouth, Sand in His Shoe). Ekkoland (Echo-Land), published in 1989, established his reputation as a preeminent Norwegian novelist. Det er greit for meg (It's Fine by Me) followed in 1992, and the 1999 English translation of Til Sibir (To Siberia) issued in Norway 1996 makes it possible for a wider audience to appreciate Mr. Petterson's art.
The main characters in his earlier works are young males leading working-class lives of the 1950s and 1970s in the outskirts of Oslo -- a world Mr. Petterson is intimately familiar with. Til Sibir provides a departure from the earlier works in that the narrative voice belongs a young girl growing up in northern Denmark around the time of World War II.
To Siberia tells the story of Jytta who dreams of a great journey to Siberia but finds herself in Oslo instead, imprisoned by an unwanted pregnancy at the age of 23. Ironically, Jytta's brother and closest ally, Jesper, ends up in exotic Morocco after becoming a communist and a resistance fighter. Mr. Petterson's narrative is skillfully built by telling events set against an unforgettable background of poor farmers, fishermen, and artisans trying to find meaning in their lives.
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