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 a powerful story about what it means to be the parents of a disabled child. And 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. This is a story about the fine line between accepting and giving up. This is a moving story about love that hits like a fist.
Daniel loses his speech and changes personality. For his mother, Olaug, it is the start of a battle, first to understand what is happening to the boy, and then to help him get the care and resources he needs. The family suddenly find themselves in a lifechanging, challenging situation. There is a long and painful process shared in this novel written with deep human insight and love in the year Daniel turns 10 years old.

Foreign rights

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


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 (b.1977) made her real breakthrough in 2005 with Turn Me On, Dammit (Få meg på, for faen). The book breaks taboos in relation to young people and sexuality and was defining for a whole generation. Since then she has written books in many genres and made her mark as an unusual and important voice in Norwegian literature. Her last novel A Tale of Terrible Times was awarded the prestigious Brage Prize in 2017, and is a powerful story about what it means to be the parents of a disabled child.

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