Christensen’s Half Brother long-listed for prestigious prize

Lars Saabye Christensen’s novel The Half Brother has been long-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

26/01/2004 :: The novel made the list along with 15 other titles out of hundreds of entries. The prize, which is administered by Arts Council England, is "awarded for translated fiction by living authors first published in Britain in the year preceding the award." The sum of £10,000 is shared equally between the author and translator. A short-list will be announced on the third week of march.

Christensen has also been invited by the Royal Festival Hall to take part in a reading alongside Danish novelist Suzanne Brøgger on 4 May. The event will take place in the Voice Box at 7.30pm, an intimate venue seating around eighty on level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall. The event will focus on his novel The Half Brother, and will also involve both translators.

Christensen will read a passage from The Half Brother in Norwegian and the translator will read a passage from the English translation, so the audience gets a flavour of the text in both languages. Following the readings, there will be a discussion where the audience has a chance to ask the author some questions. There will also be an opportunity for book signing.

The Independent's 6 February review of the paperback version of The Half Brother:

"A total knockout of a novel from Norway. Christensen's Nordic prize-winning family epic about semi-siblings in post-war Oslo - a boxer and a scriptwriter - meshes pathos, humour, tragedy and social history with a punch that leaves the likes of Jonathan Franzen on the canvas. The two kids, Fred and Barnum, children of war and trauma, grow up dividing the worlds of body and brain, action and reflection, between them. They need to fuse, not fight, as does their entire culture. The high-octane narrative sparkles like sunlit snow in Kenneth Steven's pacy, muscular translation." Boyd Tonkin

The Telegraph's 2 February review of the paperback version of The Half Brother:

"This is a big, fat, consoling sort of paperback that will sit by your bedside for more than a month. Set in Oslo, with a densely woven plot that stretches back to the closing day of the Second World War, The Half Brother is filled with colourful, only semi-plausible characters, each growing up with some freakish problem that sets them at odds with the rest of the world. The narrator, Barnum, is a midget, alcoholic screenplay writer with Tourette's syndrome. His half-brother Fred, the result of his mother being raped by a nine-fingered man, goes mute after he is implicated in the death of his great-grandmother. Fred is roused to speak again only when he hears Barnum play a Cliff Richard record once too often. After that, he vanishes for 27 years in search of some lost letters written by his great-grandfather. The Half Brother is a magnificent novel: tragic, funny, engaging, and written with immense brio." Toby Clements

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Lars Saabye ChristensenPhoto: Espen Røst

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