A Tale of Terrible Times

A Tale of Terrible Times

Olaug Nilssen

Original title: Tung tids tale
Publisher: Samlaget, 2017
Genre: Novel
Pages: 150 pages

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“It’s a picture of Mum,” you said from the back seat.
“Where’s Mum?” I replied from the front seat.
You took a long time to formulate your answer, whether because your speech was in the process of disintegrating, or because you were searching for a poetic line. “On the car’s ear.”

A Tale of Terrible Times is an acute story on being the parents of a disabled child, about the fight to allow the child to be who he is, and to get the support that he and his family need. The book follows the mother and son, and the rest of the family, day by day from the last Monday in November until the third Thursday in May. It is a story about the fine line between accepting and giving up, and a moving story about how love can strike you down.

As a toddler, Daniel loses his speech and changes his personality, marking the start of a battle for his mother, Olaug. First, to understand what is happening to the boy, and then to help him get the care and resources he needs. The long and painful process is shared in this novel, and written with deep human insight and love, in the year Daniel turns ten.

Foreign rights

Albert Bonniers: Sweden
Academic Press of Georgia: Georgian
Turbine: Denmark
antìpōd :Croatia
Trecí Trg: Serbia

Awards

Selected prizes:
The Brage Prize for A Tale of Terrible Times for best Norwegian fiction in 2017
The “Nesehorn” (Rhinoceros) Prize 2017 awarded by the daily newspaper Klassekampen.

Once again, Olaug Nilssen has shown herself to be one of Norway’s sharpest literary voices. It is impossible to put Tale of Terrible Times aside unmoved.

Torborg Igland, Fædrelandsvennen

This book is a brilliant love story and absolutely the best novel I’ve read about autism.

Helene Larsen, Aspergerinformator

…shocking, important literature.

Ingunn Økland, Aftenposten

Olaug Nilssen

Portrett olaug i skog 010920
Photo: Bernt R. Synnevåg

Olaug Nilssen made her breakthrough in 2005 with Turn Me On, Dammit . The book broke taboos on young people and sexuality and was defining for a whole generation. She has since made her mark as an unusual and important voice in Norwegian literature, and covered several genres. A Tale of Terrible Times was awarded the prestigious Brage Prize in 2017. With this powerful story about what it means to be the parents of a disabled child, Nilssen established herself as a significant and influential political advocate.

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Other titles by Olaug Nilssen

The One Needful Thing

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