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Will-and-testament-1050
9781788733106
Will and Testament
A Novel
by Vigdis Hjorth Translated by Charlotte Barslund
Part of the Verso Fiction series
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336 pages / September 2019 / 9781788733106
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September 2019 / 9781788733120

A provocative bestseller from one of Norway’s most highly regarded novelists

Longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature

Four siblings. Two summer houses. One terrible secret. When a dispute over her parents’ will grows bitter, Bergljot is drawn back into the orbit of the family she fled twenty years before. Her mother and father have decided to leave two island summer houses to her sisters, disinheriting the two eldest siblings from the most meaningful part of the estate. To outsiders, it is a quarrel about property and favouritism. But Bergljot, who has borne a horrible secret since childhood, understands the gesture as something very different—a final attempt to suppress the truth and a cruel insult to the grievously injured.

Will and Testament is a lyrical meditation on trauma and memory, as well as a furious account of a woman’s struggle to survive and be believed. Vigdis Hjorth’s novel became a controversial literary sensation in Norway and has been translated into twenty languages.
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Will and Testament is a compulsively readable novel, one that turns questions of shame into weapons against silence.”
Paris Review 

“Hjorth’s thoughtful, drily funny, and often devastating novel will leave a deep and lasting impression on readers.”
Publishers Weekly

“In a ruthless yet patiently delivered work, Hjorth does something that few writers achieve: Will and Testament is both economical and overwhelming.”
Financial Times

And in the GuardianThe next Elena Ferrante? The best European fiction coming your way

Reviews

“Hypnotic.”

“Like Knausgaard, Hjorth is writing against repression, against the taboo on telling things as they really are. But he urges us to look at dead bodies; she forces us to regard bleeding souls. Hjorth seems to have formulated from her experiments with living models a model for living, in which exposure—of the self and of others—serves a larger purpose.”

“This is a novel that people could enjoy either as high literature or as a work of down-and-dirty revenge. The tabloids loved it as much as the broadsheets, and it became the bestselling novel of the year.”

“Will and Testament is a reminder that it’s easier to hide darkness than face it ... Hjorth argues cogently that conflicts and atrocities often stem from what a nation represses or denies.”

“In a ruthless yet patiently delivered work, Hjorth does something that few writers achieve: Will and Testament is both economical and overwhelming.”

“Devastating”

“Compelling ... Hjorth proves brilliant at revealing the stubborn, unredemptive quality of childhood suffering.”

“An extraordinary book.”

“Furious and wise, trembling and stringent. Will and Testament examines who owns the past. This is the novel in weaponized form.”

“The strength of the novel lies in Bergljot’s convincing and continuing vulnerability, in her mixed feelings and her flaws … A clear-eyed and convincing story of a family’s doomed attempt to reconcile and the limits of forgiveness.”

“Vigdis Hjorth is one of my favorite contemporary writers.”

“Hjorth parcels out the secrets with a precision worthy of Ibsen, so that the level of suspense is maintained up until the very last pages.”

“Its strong emotional truths take hold of you immediately – even before the family secret’s consequences are made apparent: I dogeared page after page to mark off insights, movements, formulations.”

“Even in the depths of family trauma, the scent of the forest, sea and meadow may still drift over the troubled cities and suburbs of Norwegian fiction. That forest may be a real place. It may also, as in Will and Testament, be a longed-for state of mind.”

“A powerfully humane novel about inheritance, trauma and the inheritance of trauma.”

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