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ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529417432

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The fourth novel in a historical series that began with the International Booker-shortlisted The Unseen

“Taken together, Jacobsen has given us an epic of Norway’s experience of the first half of the 20th century that is subtle and moving” David Mills, Sunday Times

“Jacobsen can make almost anything catch the light . . . One of Norway’s greatest writers on the working class” Times Literary Supplement


After a long journey through Norway, Ingrid has finally returned to Barrøy. Life has become more stable, but the war still casts its long shadows across the country. Former collaborators face cold shoulders or obscured retaliation. Others simply wish to leave the painful years in the past.

One day a boy arrives on the island. Shortly thereafter, his father disappears. Ingrid assumes responsibility for the boy, and adopts him. As such, Mathias becomes a central part of the Barrøy community, together with Kaja, Ingrid’s daughter by birth.

Life on the island is demanding, but the letters from friends in Oslo and Trondheim tell of a Norwegian society undergoing dramatic changes. Which stories should Ingrid keep to herself, and which ones should she bring to light? What kind of future is she imagining?

Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw

Reviews for The Unseen

“Even by his high standards, his magnificent new novel The Unseen is Jacobsen’s finest to date, as blunt as it is subtle and is easily among the best books I have ever read” Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

“A beautifully crafted novel . . . Quite simply a brilliant piece of work . . . Rendered beautifully into English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, The Unseen is a towering achievement that would be a deserved Booker International winner” Charlie Connelly, New European.

“A profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm” Justine Jordan, Guardian

“The subtle translation, with its invented dialect, conveys a timeless, provincial voice . . . The Unseen is a blunt, brilliant book” Tom Graham, Financial Times.