Starweed

Starweed

Inger Bråtveit

Original title: Vassarv
Publisher: Forlaget Oktober, 2023
Pages: 226 pages

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It’s hot, and the housemartins swoop over Schweigaards gate and Oslo prison, over the stone sculptures, syringes, the prison wall, asphalt and cement; over picnics of kiwi and melon, over dandelion, willowherb and wild pansies. The housemartins swoop over the ditch where the digger digs at the Hovin Stream. On Harald Hardrådes plass, bus 37 negotiates the roundabout and continues down the street. A goods train comes along the railway tracks laden with timber. Over Gamlebyen’s school, Bispegården and the monastery ruins, the housemartins swoop. The housemartins swoop along Dronning Eufemias gate, over the bridge to Sukkerbiten, the Opera and the Munch Museum, and the sign that says not to feed the birds. In Gamlebyen, in the courtyard, the girls sing at the top of their voices, and inside the climbing frame, in the little hut, sits my daughter.

A mother drives across the country, over the fells from east to west, with her daughter strapped into the child seat in the back. To the daughter the trip is a passage through endless hours and landscapes, to the mother it becomes a journey in and out of contrasting times, to what used to be a home.

Starweed
is a novel about being four years old, about wishing you had a pet, about discovering the world on your own – and about a mother’s joys and sorrows at seeing her child grow up. It’s a novel too about transitions in life, about the fractures we suffer in detaching away into lives of our own, in daughterhood and motherhood.

Bråtveit’s story shifts subtly and powerfully between the everyday and the sublime, with keen and unfailing awareness of the brutal procession of our lives.

Foreign rights

German: btb
Swedish: Bokförlaget Faethon

Inger Bråtveit is back as a crystal clear prosaist, with a novel that takes off from the traces of “Dette er også vatn”. Existential, everyday and striking, when girls from past and present float together,

Cecilia Hansson, Swedish author

The gravity of Inger Bråtveit’s novel sets it apart as one of the author’s best novels … Inger Bråtveit does not shy away from fundamental existential perspectives and questions in her writing. In this sense, she assumes her rightful place beside authors like Jon Fosse and Jan Roar Leikvoll … In meeting with Inger Bråtveit, what excites me again and again is precisely the unique and fearless way her writing gives rise to richly figurative literature, and how her wide-reaching awareness of tradition evokes a sprawling expression of something classical in the midst of Norwegian contemporary literature.”

Margunn Vikingstad, Morgenbladet

This is poetic prose at its most beautiful, simply a gorgeous novel!

Jan-Erik Østlie, FriFagbevegelse

Inger Bråtveit

Portrett inger farger
Photo: Signe Fuglesteg Luksengard

Inger Bråtveit is one of Norway’s most exciting younger authors and the recipient of several awards and grants, including the New Norwegian Literature Prize and the Bjørnson Scholarship. She debuted as an author in 2002 with the novel Mouth towards a Frozen Fjord. Her second novel, Siss and Unn, was nominated for the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature in 2008.
Bråtveit published her third novel Alice A4 in 2015, nominated for the Young Readers’ Critics’ Prize. The Art of Swimming (2018) is a hybrid novel applauded for its wise and beautiful prose. Starweed is her fifth novel.

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Other titles by Inger Bråtveit

Siss and Unn

Inger Bråtveit

2008

Inger Bråtveit

2002
The Art of Swimming

Inger Bråtveit

2018
Alice in Suburbia

Inger Bråtveit

2015