To gossip or not to gossip...

Norwegian author Helene Uri's second novel 'Honey Tongues', translated by Kari Dickson, is now out in the UK. It tells the story of four friends and their exchange of increasingly bitchy gossip.

The honey tongues of the title belong to four friends in their thirties who have known each other since school. They make up a ‘sewing circle’ where no sewing is done, but much exquisite food is lovingly prepared and consumed and increasingly bitchy gossip exchanged.

The novel follows their three-weekly meetings over six months, as they take turns to entertain each other; the readers are privy to their thoughts and memories and discover how apparently innocent actions are motivated by emotional hang-ups with their roots in childhood traumas. The tension builds towards a gourmet trip to Copenhagen to celebrate their friendship, where during an eight-course meal the masks drop and undisguised fear and loathing are revealed. Shocking secrets are unearthed as the balance of power subtly shifts from one member of the group to another. Brilliantly observed, this is female bonding at its worst, manipulative and psychotic, exposing the dependency and deceit behind the compassionate and affectionate façade.

Honey Tongues is the second adult novel by a young Norwegian writer, Helene Uri (b.1964), and was acclaimed on its publication in 2002 as a lively and entertaining read, whose seemingly frivolous subject matter is based on acute psychological observation.

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'Honey Tongues' is Helene Uri's second novel.Photo: Morten Brun

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