The oasis overwhelmed Maria with gifts. Maria whispered: thank you, you are beautiful. The oasis answered that it was she who was. You are beautiful, it said. You are a sun. Your hair. It reminds me of the sun. I love it when you walk around in me!
On a glorious summer’s day, Maria arrives at an oasis near the Sahara Desert. She is nineteen and from Norway. The year is 1970, and in Tunisia the year is 1390. Maria is a roumjia, an alien, and it is as if she has come home.
Maria and Aziz lie on a bed in a room without a ceiling. They whisper and kiss while their hands caress the other’s skin. Outside, the sounds of crowing roosters, braying donkeys and bare feet can be heard. Dedé, who talks with the moon, also lives in the oasis. And so does Bab, who drinks hair tonic and talks about everything which is ordinary and extraordinary, about the difference between peace and disquiet, and about the meaning of lying awake at night. This is the place where Maria falls in love.
Fleur is an original and inspired love story about tenderness and eroticism, about the meaning of setting oneself in motion, and about the longing to find one’s place in the cosmos.
“With her poetic, but still sober prose, Marit Tusvik lets us experience the African country. The nights under an open sky, the smells, the food, the colours and the light. She also describes the feeling of estrangement, how it can destroy our joy and our love”
6/6 stars, Trønder-avisa
“A beautiful novel about something strange and foreign becoming familiar and dear …there is something about the tone and the phrasings that stand out in the Norwegian literary landscape … Tusvik has managed to transform memories to a glowing now. Fleur is beautiful all the way through. The narrator’s gaze back in time isn’t critical or trying to uncover problems, but it isn’t rose-tinted either. It’s open and friendly, the way the young Maria experienced a new world in a country where she was a stranger, not those she met … Sometimes it must be ok to concentrate on the positives, and few do that in such a simple, playful and atmospheric prose as Marit Tusvik”
Dag og Tid
“A beautiful, not rose-tinted novel about a young woman’s open and loving encounter with an unfamiliar world, and (as always with Marit Tusvik) a moving and technically unsurpassed novel”
“The love story between Fleur and Aziz is young, beautiful and intense … a book to make you wiser and richer. You get wiser, and at the same time certain that even though we live in a wonderful country, the world is a much, much bigger place”