The Other Name. Septology I - II
Original title: Det andre namnet, Septologien I-II
Publisher: Det Norske Samlaget, 2019
Pages: 514 pages
The first book of Jon Fosse’s magnum opus
Jon Fosse has completed a 1250 page prose work: Septology. He started writing prose again in the summer of 2015, after a short break, and since then he has been writing constantly. The Other Name will be launched this October at the Frankfurt Book Fair, shortly after Fosse’s 60th birthday. The work as a whole is called Septology and the seven parts are being published in three volumes: The Other Name; “I is Someone Else (parts III-V, 2020), and A New Name (parts VI-VII, 2021)
The main character and first-person narrator of Septology, Asle, is a painter and widower who lives in the house in Dylgja where he used to live with his wife Ales. He is now alone; almost the only people he still sees are his neighbor, Åsleik—an old-fashioned country fisherman—and his gallerist, Beyer, who lives in the city of Bjørgvin, a couple of hours’ drive to the south. Bjørgvin is Fosse’s fictional version of the real Norwegian city of Bergen. Another Asle, also a painter, lives in Bjørgvin, and he and the narrator are doppelgangers, in a way, or perhaps two versions of the same person, the same life. The one who married Ales also became religious, and quit drinking, and became a successful painter; the other is on a harder path. It is a central event of Fosse’s fictional universe when they meet. The action of the novel takes place during Advent, shortly before Christmas, with the lives of the two Asles told both in flashback and in the present.
Septology is about the nature of art, and God; about alcoholism and the passage of time. Like so much of Fosse’s work, it treats of love, of death, of the sea.
Batzer in Denmark, Rowohlt in Germany, Uitgeverij Oevers in The Netherlands, Bonniers in Sweden, Fitzcarraldo Editions in UK, De Conatus in Spain, Kalligram in Hungary
Fosse has received numerous prizes, both in Norway and internationally, and he is mentioned increasingly often as a likely contender for the Nobel Prize. Fosse is currently working on a seven-volume work of what he calls "slow prose”: Septology, to be published in three volumes in 2019, 202o, and 2021.