Million-copy international bestseller arrives in the UK

 Type:Culture, Literature

In 'The Conqueror', the second volume of the trilogy about Jonas Wergeland, Jan Kjærstad’s narrative enmeshes the reader more and more closely not only in the life of one man, but also in that of an entire nation and its culture in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Jonas Wergeland has been convicted of the murder of his wife Margrete. What brought Norway’s darling to this end? A professor has been set the task of writing a biography of the once celebrated, now notorious, television personality; in doing so he hopes to solve the riddle of Jonas Wergeland’s success and downfall. But the sheer volume of material on his subject is so daunting that the professor finds himself completely bogged down, at a loss as how to proceed, until the evening when a mysterious stranger knocks on his door and offers to tell him stories which will help him unravel the strands of Wergeland’s life.

The first volume of the triology, 'The Seducer', was the winner of the Nordic Prize for Literature 2001 and has received warm praise: Paul Auster hails ‘an enormously accomplished and compelling novel by one of Scandinavia’s outstanding contemporary writers. Barbara J. Haveland and Arcadia Books have performed a great service by giving us Kjærstad in English at last’. Ali Smith  mentions it in the TLS as one of her International Books of the Year and adds, ‘I read this energetic blast of a novel in one’. According to the Independent, ‘Jan Kjærstad is a brave writer. The Seducer succeeds at being a great work of fiction, and a terrific read’.

Jan Kjærstad was awarded Germany’s Henrik Steffen Prize for Scandinavians who have significantly enriched Europe’s artistic and intellectual life. Other awards include the Norwegian Literary Critics Prize and the Aschehoug Prize.

The Conqueror by Jan Kjærstad
Published by Arcadia Books on 22 February.
Priced £12.99

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Jan Kjærstad's 'The Conqueror' is out in the UK on 22 FebruaryPhoto: Arcadia Books

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