This Life or The Next
Winner of the 2018 Young Critic’s Award
A subdued explosion that sends shrapnel in all directions – to journalism, to literary fiction, to immigration policy, to criticism of religion.
In a taut tale of radicalization, Norway’s Demian Vitanza contributes ‘This Life or the Next’ to a season of top-notch political books (…) working deep in the land of Capote, willing to risk the most fearful currents of personal relationship to interview someone terrifying, sitting in cold blooded nearness to something as genuinely evil as it is human.
– Publishing Perspectives
The by far best book the reviewer has read about foreign fighters going to Syria.
– Dagbladet, 6 out of 6 stars
Reminds us that art offers contrasts, details and nuances we would otherwise have missed. That is Demian Vitanzas great achievement in this book.
In 2015, author Demian Vitanza was teaching a writing class in one of Norways high security prisons when he met «Tariq», a young Norwegian-Pakistani man imprisoned for travelling to Syria and taking part in terrorist activities. «I want you to write my story» he told Vitanza. «But it needs to be in the form of a novel»
Based on more than hundred hours of conversation, this groundbreaking work of literary fiction is the story of a young man driven as much by idealism as by his emerging faith, who constantly questions and doubts the actions that eventually puts him at the Syrian border in the middle of the night.
Combined with the literary sensibility of one of Norways best young authors, this novel, in addition to shining new light on one of the most urgent issues of todays Europe, is also a timeless work of literature about memory, truth and the way we present and justify our own stories.