Which Norwegian Author Is Your Favorite Beatle?

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I think of the four elder statesmen of Norwegian letters as a bit like the Beatles: Per Petterson is the solid, always dependable Ringo; Dag Solstad is John, the experimentalist, the ideas man; Karl Ove Knausgaard is Paul, the cute one; and Fosse is George, the quiet one, mystical, spiritual, probably the best craftsman of them all.

Damien Searls, who spoke eloquently about translating the nuance and culture of an original text in his Rumpus interview, explains how the writing—and the last names—of Jon Fosse and Karl Ove Knausgaard exemplify the difference between poetry and prose. He writes, “I have a feeling that when My Struggle Book Five comes out in English, Fosse’s tagline will be ‘Karl Ove Knausgaard’s creative writing teacher: the one who told him he was not a poet.’”


You can find Charley Locke's journalism on WIRED, tweets @CHARLEY_LOCKE, and drawings on her parents' fridge. You can also sometimes spot Charley imperiously making book recommendations while managing the McSweeney's Pop-Up Shops. More from this author →