My Men

My Men

Victoria Kielland NORLA Selected

Original title: Mine menn
Publisher: No Comprendo Press, 2021
Genre: Novel
Pages: 200 pages

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My Men is a work of fiction inspired by actual events, about Brynhild, a Norwegian servant girl, who emigrated to America in the late 19th century and became Bella Sørensen, then Belle Gunness of La Porte, Indiana. After her death, Belle was discovered to be America’s first female serial killer, but Kielland writes, in an urgent language, about a broken person, one who is always yearning, about going to the ends of the earth, about those who refuse to lose themselves; those who shall live and those who must die. No one who loves with their whole self can survive.

One of NORLA’s Selected titles autumn 2022.

Foreign rights

Brazilian – Portuguese: Todavia Publishing House
Chinese: Thinkingdom Media Group
Croatian: Petrine Knjige d.o.o.
Danish: Gads Forlag
Dutch: Uitgeverij Oevers
English (NA): Astra Publishing House
English (UK&CW): Pushkin Press
French: Dalva
German: Tropen
Italian: Sellerio
Polish: ArtRage
Portuguese: Dom Quixote
Russian: Corpus
Serbian: Kontrast
Spanish: Galaxia Gutenberg
Swedish: Natur och Kultur


The Stig Sæterbakken Memorial Award 2021
The Dobloug Prize 2022
New York Times Best Crime Book 2023
Wall Street Journal Best Mystery Book 2023
Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2024
Shortlisted for Internationaler Literaturpreis 2024

“One of the best young authors we have … She writes about a broken person but one who is always yearning, a woman of perilous inner abysses.… Kielland approaches her ferocious main character with the utmost seriousness, writing her into existence with sentences full of an infectiously reckless triumph. The narrative voice in the novel is one of absolute solitude, but in spite of Brynhild’s inability to live a good life there is also affirmation in Kielland’s urgent language. … Kielland makes Brynhild tragic rather than cold-blooded. By tethering her rage to typically female experiences, My Men vindicates her, in a sense … There is a dynamic feminist element in Kielland’s story of desire …. Kielland is a writer who prevails through insisting on warmth as well as violence.”

Carina Elisabeth Beddari, Morgenbladet

“Gripping, unique, and amazingly well-written … [Kielland] paints a nuanced portrait of this woman who defied the limited social opportunities granted to her and took her life into her own hands … An exceptionally good book.”

Ulla Svalheim, Vårt Land

“Who writes like this? The book recalls modernist precursors, with prose bordering on poetry and almost tactile, at the very least sensual, as if the words are getting stuck to your fingers. More than anything else it is this great sensuality—this aesthetic experience, to put it a bit pretentiously—which makes My Men, and Kielland’s writing in general, unusual and extraordinary”.

Even Teistung, Bokmagasinet, Klassekampen

Kielland plumbs Belle’s inner life through jaggedly rhythmic prose, where what should be obvious is sometimes opaque and what’s often shrouded — female rage — takes center stage.

New York Times Best Crime Book 2023

The author affords [Belle Gunness] a rich and terrifying inner life in this horrific, sustained portrait of a traumatized human soul.

Wall Street Journal, Best Mystery Books 2023

“When Victoria Kielland writes her way into the emotional life of one of the world’s worst mass murderers … Kielland infuses the real events with her imagination, expressed in a powerful poetic prose that is uniquely hers – so powerful that you forget what the main character of the book is capable of. This double-sided quality also characterizes the plot, one of the most beautiful and also most gruesome that I have ever read … The book reads beautifully while also creating a sense of experiencing everything for the first time … a feat both bold and refreshing. Kielland doesn’t hold back; she plunges headfirst into one of the darkest corners of history.”

Joakim Tjøstheim, Dagbladet

My Men, superbly translated by Damion Searls, is a portrait of a woman trying, and failing, to escape her punishing trajectory. Bit by bit, day by day, we see, and come to understand, what has made Belle Gunness a killer.

Sarah Weinman, The New York Times Book Review

A short, sharp shock of a book… The intense, progressively feverish quality of the novel is far closer to the visceral interiority of Clarice Lispector or Jean Rhys than anything by Jo Nesbø or Stieg Larsson… A singular novel of unusual power from a fearless and remarkable writer.

Carys Davies,The Guardian

This is a literary tour de force, and one of the most effective portrayals of a fundamentally fractured psyche I’ve ever read.

Per Klingberg, Göteborgs-Posten

An extraordinary literary experience!

Titti Schültz, SVT Go'kväll

The intricate layering of language and imagination over the historical background is magnificent and romantic… It is so beautiful and suggestive, and now we have yet another Norwegian author to follow.

Malin Ullgren, Dagens Nyheter

Kielland doesn’t over-explain the protagonist’s motivations or psychoanalyse the course of events. She allows the story, the language, and the reader to find their own ways.

Lisa Marques Jagemark, Borås Tidning

In [the novel], the murders themselves take up very little space, and when they are described, it’s with the same poetic sensuality as the many erotic depictions. My Men is an introspective portrayal from inside the mind of a woman who has dissolved the boundaries between love and hate and who is slowly descending into an ever-deepening madness.

Annina Rabe, Tidningen Vi

Don’t expect a Nordic noir. Instead, brace yourself to delve into the depths of Belle’s psychoses, running breathlessly through anxieties, intrusive thoughts, repetitive gestures, and unexplained deaths […]. “My Men” moves beneath Belle’s skin, within her guts. It’s written in the third person, but reads like a single monologue, almost like a prayer, a litany punctuated by repetitive gestures and recurring questions. Victoria Kielland’s writing is feverish, desperate. “My Men” is an extraordinary book.

Il Libraio (Italy)

Victoria Kielland

Portrett victoria kielland høyoppløselig
Julia Marie Naglestad

Victoria Kielland’s first book, the short prose collection I lyngen 2013 (In the Heather) was shortlisted for the Tarjei Vesaas Debutant Prize. In 2016, Kielland’s first novel Dammyr <(>Marsh Pond”), was shortlisted for the Youth Critics’ Prize. My Men is her breakthrough novel, published to rave reviews in Norway in 2021, awarded The Thorleif Dahl Prize and The Dobloug Prize, awarded by the Swedish Academy, and is an international success, so far sold to 16 languages and longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award.

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