Attempts to Describe the Impenetrable
Arne Gunnar Larsen is a social democrat, an architect and director of planning of a huge housing cooperative. Realising that he has a powerful urge to become part of the people, he leaves his wife and moves from his flat in the poshest part of downtown Oslo to a large housing estate on the city’s outskirts. It is an estate he himself has helped plan, a place where “the architecture was to be a tribute to human company”. However, Larsen’s encounter with the modern housing estate turns into an encounter with the Great Absence, until he strikes up a strange friendship with the neighbouring couple – a friendship that has terrible consequences.
In Attempts to Describe the Impenetrable Solstad borrows tricks from popular genres like the thriller and the melodrama. At the same time, this is a novel that comments its own creation, where Solstad, the author, comments his own project.