Celebrated Norwegian author to release book in the UK

‘The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles’, a novel by award-winning and influential contemporary Norwegian writer Roy Jacobsen, was published in the UK in January.

Born in Oslo in 1954, Jacobsen has written ten novels, four collections of short-stories, a biography and a children’s book. In 2006 he received the Gyldendal Prize for ‘The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles’. Other achievements include the prestigious Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature and two nominations for the Nordic Council's Literature Prize.

‘The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles’ is set in 1939 in the Finish town of Suomussalmi, where Timo, the village idiot, is the only one who does not escape when the Russians invade. He is forced to join the Russian army with a group of other misfits with whom he becomes friends. As Timo finds himself torn between loyalty to his new-found friends and his countrymen, he becomes an unexpected hero. However, after the war he is not acknowledged and he and his story have to be kept quiet.

‘The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles’ is not a novel about war, but about belonging and powerful forbidden friendships forged during war. It is about the lives of ordinary people dragged into war, unexpected bravery and survival instincts. Roy Jacobsen explains ‘in many ways this novel is a fable, a realistic fable, about something which I believe is genuinely human, a fable about the goodness in man.’ The story was inspired by the 1939 Winter War where a few thousand Finns vanquished tens of thousands of Russians by donning white clothing and fighting on skis in -40°C.

'The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles'
by Roy Jacobsen
John Murray (Publishers)     
10 January 2008

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'The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles' is now available in English

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