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New novel from Solstad

The award-winning ‘Novel 11, Book 18’, an uncompromising and concentrated existential novel that accommodates all of Norwegian author Dag Solstad’s fundamental themes, is now published for the first time in the UK.

The novel, which won Solstad the Norwegian Critics’ Prize for Literature for the second time, tells the story of Bjørn Hansen, a respectable town treasurer, who has just turned fifty and is horrified by the thought that chance has ruled his life. Eighteen years ago he left his wife and their two-year-old son for his mistress, who persuaded him to start afresh in a small, provincial town and to dabble in amateur dramatics. In time that relationship also faded, and after four years of living alone Bjørn contemplates an extraordinary course of action that will change his life for ever.

He finds a fellow conspirator in Dr Schiøtz, who has a secret of his own and offers to help Bjørn carry his preposterous and dangerous plan through to its logical conclusion. However, the sudden reappearance of his son both fills Bjørn with new hope and complicates matters. The desire to gamble with his comfortable existence proves irresistible, however, taking him to Vilnius in Lithuania, where very soon he cannot tell whether he's tangled up in a game or reality.

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. His work has consistently won critical acclaim and numerous Norwegian literary prizes. His first novel to be translated into English, Shyness and Dignity, was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2006.

‘Novel 11, Book 18’ is published by Harvill Secker and priced £15.99, hardback.

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‘Novel 11, Book 18’ is out now in British book stores.

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