Book reviews by country: Norway

For my series this summer, I am providing selections of book reviews by country. Either the author is from the country named in the post, or the book is set there.

The next country where I've reviewed books by a few different authors is Norway, land of translator supreme Don Bartlett. Don has translated the books I have read and enjoyed so much by Gunnar Staalesen (Consorts of Death, Yours until Death); K. O. Dahl (The Last Fix); Pernelle Rygg (The Butterfly Effect and the less successful The Golden Section) and, last but not least, Jo Nesbo (Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil's Star, The Redeemer and The Snowman, so far). 

There are some Norwegian authors who aren't translated by Don, it is true. One of my favourites among them is Karin Fossum (Broken, The Water's Edge, and earlier titles), who these days is ably translated by Charlotte Barslund (previous novels were translated by Felicity David). Anne Holt (translator Kari Dickson) is another top-notch Norwegian author – I've reviewed the three of her novels so far translated (The Final Murder, Punishment and Death in Oslo) and am looking forward to the next one later this year.

Another author, from a few years' back, is Ella Griffiths, whose Murder on Page Three (translator, J. Barry Cowlishaw) is about "Norway's Agatha Christie" – worth checking out. And one to watch- Frode Gryttan, whose debut The Shadow in the River very much impressed me with its themes of small-town racism when I read it in early 2008. 

My Norway reviews.

10 thoughts on “Book reviews by country: Norway

  1. Norway and Denmark are among the few countries where I have more reviews than you. It is funny with Ella Griffiths, though, as I have never heard about her in Denmark. Her books do not seem to have been translated into Danish. And when I search the Scandinavian online shop I use, they only come up with ELLY Griffiths.

  2. My work is also about a stern land, so this is attractive to me. I’m also thinking of a Norwegian-American writer who wrote a series of novels about the plains? But I can’t recall his name, sorry!

  3. How thoughtful of you, not making me wait for any of those other pesky letters. So will I give Jo Nesbo another go (I abandoned The Redbreast last year) or pick up a new Karen Fossum for my Norway read?????

  4. These are great reviews. Thanks. Got several ideas of books I want to read. I will give Jo Nesbo a try and Ella Griffiths, now that I know of her. Also, K.O. Dahl and Gunnar Staalesen. However, although I do like Anne Holt’s writing, I’ll give “Death in Oslo” a pass as I’m bored by anything about the U.S. presidency as I have to hear about it every day. Also, again a beautiful photo, causing me to wish I were there.

  5. Bernadette, I think that you’d like the book by Frode Gryttan best, of these…just a prediction! It is a heck of a lot shorter than any of Jo Nesbo’s…
    Dorte- yes, that’s how Karen found out about Ella Griffiths- she was searching for ELLY Griffiths (author of Crossing Places, etc), mistyped the Y for an A, and discovered ELLA Griffiths who wrote (at least) two books translated into English about 20 years ago. I managed to get hold of second-hand copies (ex-library in one case) of these. I read the first and liked it, the second awaits, still.
    Kathy – I’ve only read one K O Dahl but I liked it enormously. Looking forward to the rest (being translated in erratic order, unfortunately). Anne Holt has a very good, engaging writing style but Death in Oslo has more than a few plot holes. I understand your views on US Presidency!

  6. Yes! Boredom, should use a novel on U.S. presidency to cure insomnia. Lots of good ideas here. And my Italy list: have lots on it. Have started Camilleri and written down Gianrico Carofiglio and “Inspector Cataldo’s Criminal Summer,” etc. This is on top of the Scandinavian and English, not to mention Australian. I’m toying with reading Hallinan’s books and Deon Meyer’s “13 Hours” and then must find a South American author to make the Global Challenge, am waiting for Claudia Piniero’s book from the library. Last night read your Norwegian and Italian reviews…write down names. Lots for Book Depository.

  7. Maxine–I agree that Don Bartlett-is an excellent translator–
    but he was NOT the translator of Guunnar Staalesen’s
    Yours Until Death.This title originally was published in UK
    in 1993 by Constable .The translator being Margaret Amassian.

  8. Sorry, Simon, you are quite correct and it is MA’s translation of that novel I read. Don has translated two recently, I believe (one may not be published yet, the other is Consorts. I’ve read another translated Staaleson but can’t remember the title or the translator, will check out when I am back).

  9. I have found a little something about Ella Griffiths – she died in 1990 and wrote children’s books and crime fiction. Her crime books were: Natten er min fiende (1960), En av dine kjæreste venner (1969), Hilsen Lucifer (1970), Sunket i jorden (1971), Vannenken (1977), Ukjent makker (1978), Mord på side 3 (1982), Naken jomfru (1986).
    The other name is Frode Grytten, not Gryttan. He has won the Riverton prize 🙂

  10. Thanks, Peter. The English translator of Ella Griffiths has just left a comment at my review of Murder on Page Three at Petrona, with some more details.

Comments are closed.