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lorenzoberardi

The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

The Half Brother - Lars Saabye Christensen, Kenneth Steven This is an astonishing and generally underrated novel set up in post World War II Oslo.
Before the discovering of oil in the North Sea. Before Statoil came. Before Norway became a rich and wealthy country.

The Half Brother may be considered the Norwegian answer to "The Tin Drum".
Lars Saabye Christensen is masterful in narrating the growth of the two brothers Barnum and Fred (the last one meaning "peace" in Norwegian). The dislessical, pugnacious Fred is a marvellous negative character who takes his strength from hating other people and tyrannizing the disadvantaged in body and name Barnum.

In reading about the brotherhood of Fred and Barnum, shades of Grass, Richler and Bellow may be found. I'm not only thinking to the already cited "The Tin Drum" but also to "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" and "The Adventures of Augie March".

Moreover as for me, this book is a kind of proustian madeleine taking me back to the Majorstua district and along Kirkeveien, a part of Oslo I walked through for six months.
Lars Saabye Christensen literary craftmanship deserves a wider celebrity being an exception as far as I know in the Norwegian scene.