The Effect of Moonlight on the First Snow

The Effect of Moonlight on the First Snow

Tove Braathen

Original title: Effekten av måneskinn på nyfallen snø
Publisher: Vigmostad & Bjørke, 2018
Pages: 368 pages

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Margot is in her late thirties when her life becomes undone. She enters a conflict with the performance-driven headmaster at the high school where she teaches, her husband leaves her for a younger woman, and due to her new found circumstances she is forced to relocate from the affluent neighbourhood in west Oslo to a remote part of Groruddalen in the east. In her new life she is experiencing the loneliness of closed communities, where everyone is an outsider. The area is filled with strange sights, from the alcoholics gathered around the forest bonfire to the heavily covered immigrant women, forcing Margot to recon with her own prejudices.

In the first floor apartment of Margot’s apartment building lives Vera. She is old, sick, and unable to walk. Slowly Margot and Vera begin to develop a relationship, and are able to communicate across the differences. Vera reveals a troubling secret from long ago, with Margot being the sole confidant she feels forced to take action.

The Effect of Moonlight on the First Snow is a sharp and humorous novel about two women, and the precariousness of life.

“There is something of Nesbø about Braathen’s sensitivity to local dialects and her brutal depictions of the urban landscape. There is the edginess of crime fiction in the portrayal of some the characters, especially the main character’s bitter, mobility-walker-using neighbour. Her merciless scrutiny of interpersonal relationships and empty political chatter is also reminiscent of Nina Lykke.”

Bjørn Gabrielsen in Dagens Næringsliv

Tove Braathen

Photo: Vigmostad & Bjørke

Tove Braathen (b. 1952) still resides in her birthplace Grorud, Oslo. She has a dedicated career teaching at various high schools in the same city. Braathen’s debut novel, All These Days, published last year, was praised by critics and readers alike. Braathen writes about the everyday life of people in Oslo often forgotten in contemporary literature, combining sharp observations with deeply touching and entertaining feel-good narratives. With her latest novel The Effect of Moonlight on the First Snow, published this year, Braathen continues to write with the same authority of life in the eastern parts of Oslo, bringing to surface the dialogue between the political and the ordinary in urban life.

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