The Invisible Library
Original title: Det usynlige biblioteket
Publisher: Forlaget Oktober, 2015
Pages: 224 pages
Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2020
The year is 323 BC. King Alexander of Macedonia – for posterity known as Alexander the Great – lies poisoned and paralysed in his palace in Babylon. He is 32 years old, has had Aristotle as a mentor and is the greatest military commander the world has ever seen.
At the other end of the palace, Phyllis sits locked in a room. She is the cook for the king’s army and was arrested by the new rulers. All of her adult life she has lived in the field – for a long period of time as Alexander’s lover.
Who has poisoned the king? Phyllis is allowed to live as long as she writes down everything she knows about Alexander. She begins a rich and brutal story of the war’s violent daily life, about the planning of the expansion into the Arabian Peninsula, about an invisible library containing marvellous manuscripts and discoveries, and about the passion between a cook and a king.
In his seventh historical novel, Steen yet again renews the genre. The Invisible Library is an existential and inspired novel that goes to the heart of the human experience – who are we in war, in love, during the final days of life?
British English, American English: Seagull Books
Swedish: Heidruns Förlag