Dag Solstad has been a central figure in Norwegian literature since his debut in 1965 and is now considered to be the country's leading contemporary author. 'Shyness and Dignity', his first novel to be translated into English, is published in the UK in June.
'Shyness and Dignity' tells the story of a senior-school teacher in his fifties who begins his day as usual, picking up his briefcase and some headache pills. After a cordial goodbye to his wife, he leaves for work as he has done every morning for the past twenty-five years. However, this autumn morning is to be the start of no ordinary day. Though familiar with his students’ hostile attitude towards both his lectures and himself, today he feels their enmity touch deeper than ever before and, after a passionate lecture on Ibsen’s 'The Wild Duck', it precipitates a crisis.
He reaches a decision that forces an assessment of his choice of life, of his marriage and ultimately of his values and worth in modern society. He is, to his own mind, ‘plagued by the fact I am a socially aware individual who no longer has anything to say’.
‘Shyness and Dignity’ is a universal story of a man lost in a world that no longer recognises either him or his talent. Nabokov and Bernhard are echoed in this tour de force from Norway’s leading contemporary writer. It will be published by Harvill Secker on 22 June.
Dag Solstad (b. 1941) entered the literary scene in 1965 with 'Spiraler', a collection of short stories, and have since been Norway’s most prominent author. He has written numerous novels, short stories, plays and collections of articles, in addition to five books about football World Cups in the period 1982-1998, which he wrote in cooperation with Jon Michelet. Dag Solstad has received several literary prizes and awards, among them the Critics’ Prize – which he has received no less than three times, and in 1988 he won the Nordic Prize for literature for Novel 1987.