The Lady in the Valley

Ketil Bjørnstad

Aksel Vinding is trying to find his way back to life after the death of Marianne Skoog. He is tormented by guilt, and doesn’t know which way to go forward as a pianist. The meeting with Marianne’s sister Sigrun awakens old memories in him. Sigrun is a district doctor in a small town all the way up north, close to the border with Russia, and is married to a teacher. Aksel flees from everything that binds him to Oslo and travels north, hoping to gain a new foothold in his life. But Sigrun’s presence make Marianne and her daughter Anja come alive again. THE LADY IN THE VALLEY is a novel of loss, longing and atonement.

“With his novel The Lady in the Valley Ketil Bjørnstad concludes his impressive trilogy about Aksel Vinding, a young pianist from Oslo. … Ketil Bjørnstad, himself a pianist and writer born in Oslo in 1952, tells the story of an artist’s odyssey. A painful inner journey marked by the limits of love, death and the presumed impossible force needed to make a fresh start. The story is told over more than eleven hundred pages in sentences and images of great poetry and, sometimes, of icy beauty.”

(Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung)

“Kjetil Bjørnstad has written an exciting, vivid and entertaining last instalment in the Aksel Vinding series … The great positive take-away is the attempt to portray life, love and both the narrator’s and the other characters’ relationship to themselves through music … It’s a courageous, interesting and largely successful experiment.”

“Bjørnstad writes about music with a captivating insight few other writers can match … highly readable”

“Thrilling Bjørnstad at his best … Bjørnstad is an experienced, skilled writer who knows how to introduce his characters and put them into circulation in intricate stories, full of twists and turns … [The Lady in the Valley] can be read independently of the two previous books. I did. It’s not without blemish, but it is the most wonderful book of the ten or so I have read by him.”
(Stavanger Aftenblad)

THE LADY IN THE VALLEY is the final volume in the Aksel Vinding trilogy. It follows To Music which won the French Prix des Lecteurs 2008, and The River.

Rights sold to

  • Language Foreign publisher
  • DanishCicero
  • FrenchJC Lattès
  • GermanSuhrkamp/Insel Verlag
  • RussianKompasGid

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Additional info

  • Damen i dalen
  • 2009
  • Aschehoug Forlag
  • Fiction, Novel
  • 375 pages