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The Other Name : Septology I-II - Jon Fosse

The Other Name

Septology I-II

By: Jon Fosse, Damion Searls (Translator)

Paperback | 10 January 2019

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The Other Name: Septology I-II, a major new work by Jon Fosse, one of Europe's most celebrated writers, follows the lives of two men living close to each other on the west coast of Norway.

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2023


The year is coming to a close and Asle, an ageing painter and widower, is reminiscing about his life. He lives alone, his only friends being his neighbour, Asleik, a bachelor and traditional Norwegian fisherman-farmer, and Beyer, a gallerist who lives in Bjorgvin, a couple hours' drive south of Dylgja, where he lives. There, in Bjorgvin, lives another Asle, also a painter. He and the narrator are doppelgangers - two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life. Written in hypnotic prose that shifts between the first and third person, The Other Name calls into question concrete notions around subjectivity and the self. What makes us who we are? And why do we lead one life and not another?

With The Other Name, the first volume in a trilogy of novels, Fosse presents us with an indelible and poignant exploration of the human condition that will endure as his masterpiece.
Industry Reviews

'Jon Fosse is a major European writer.'
- Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of My Struggle


'Fosse has written a strange mystical moebius strip of a novel, in which an artist struggles with faith and loneliness, and watches himself, or versions of himself, fall away into the lower depths. The social world seems distant and foggy in this profound, existential narrative, which is only the first part of what promises to be a major work of Scandinavian fiction.'
- Hari Kunzru, author of White Tears


'There is, in this book's rhythmic accumulation of words, something incantatory and self-annihilating - something that feels almost holy.'
- Wall Street Journal


'Over the past two decades, Jon Fosse, a playwright, poet, essayist and children's author as well as a novelist, has won almost every award going in Norway, while his "slow prose" has gained him a cult following in English translation. He has been compared to Ibsen and Beckett, and his writing has elements of both the former's severity and the latter's use of insistent repetition.... The work simply loops and flows. The style is formal, yet with a sense of restlessness. As for plot, there is plenty.... Fosse's fusing of the commonplace and the existential, together with his dramatic forays into the past, make for a relentlessly consuming work: already Septology feels momentous.'
- Catherine Taylor, Guardian


'Fosse's portrait of intersecting lives is that rare metaphysical novel that readers will find compulsively readable.'
- Publishers Weekly, starred review


'Deeply enigmatic though never obscure, the novel presents questions [...] But to understand how completely these things elude comprehension, and to clothe their fundamental mystery in such gorgeous raiment, is an achievement no less profound.'
- Dustin Illingworth, The Nation

2020 International Booker Prize Longlist

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