Hordes of people are on the march, chased from their houses, their villages, or from camps. A young boy has escaped. He walks alone, following his compass toward the north, his shoulderblades protruding like wings that have been cut off. He carries with him the gaze of the others, their definitions of him, together with his hunger, his poverty and his degradation.
Along the way he gets a companion, one who also carries a secret. A kind of understanding arise beween them, as they walk together through territories full of both beauty and destruction.
North is a dark novel which still contains light. It is a story with traces of fables and myths buried deep in our collective mind.
“Lindstrøm’s new novel is both ethically binding and politically relevant. Like few others Merethe Lindstrøm captures vulnerable people in vulnerable situations in striking images. In our time’s absence of empathetic will to understand people fleeing, North – her ninth novel – becomes an argument for the opposite. In an ethically binding story, she gives literary shape to the life conditions of refugees, in a way that leaves a burning impression on the reader”
“Luminous, powerful prose … The first-person voice carries the book, and makes it a literary experience of high class … Merethe Lindstrøm offers a redemptive contrast to the darkness she portrays, through the luminous, power of her prose. The human element radiates from the 17 year old’s vision of his surroundings, a depiction full of poetry and images … The prose is teeming with beautiful metaphors … Lindstrøm has written a very beautiful and intense book, full of bleak perspectives and visions of the future. But with a hope that the human element, perhaps what we can call the soul, in spite of everything has a chance of surviving – also in the cruelest and most meaningless circumstances”
5/6 stars, Dagbladet
“One of contemporary Norwegian literature’s most finely tuned observers and portrayers of the interplay between people who are (seemingly) close … The mythical and mystical about the main character, the landscape, the rows of marching people, yes, the whole premise of the novel gives the story a unique momentum, while certain scenes demonstrate the brutal face of war … stylistic qualities on a level far above the mainstream of contemporary Norwegian literature”
“A low-key, frightening novel about what happens to people when the war ends and peace comes roaring … More than a study of war and peace, this novel is about how hostile images of the others are created, about excluding those who are different, about how demanding it is to act civilized towards people you don’t know, and who might be in a sorry state … Through her portrait of the nameless and homeless existences shuffling through a vague, post-war Europe, Lindstrøm shows us a crystal clear, frightening image of what is at stake. North is a small novel that enters a well-known landscape and makes us see it with new eyes. That’s what novels are for”
“A deeply upsetting novel about outsiders on the run … upsetting seriousness combined with the literary freedom and interpretative depths of the fable … as always Lindstrøm writes razor sharp prose, and this time I get associations to the Albanian Ismail Kadare. The novel is composed in an exemplary fashion, where the situation is gradually uncovered, and fable-like elements increases the interpretative depths”