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According to Sofia - Oystein Lonn


Sofia has run off to Spain with Leon, leaving her husband Simen back home in Norway. Simen is used to this kind of behaviour. But then Leon goes to North Africa, where he plans to commit suicide in the desert, and Simen begs Sofia to return home. In this finely observed psychological novel, the characters are all running away – from themselves, from the others, and from life in general. According to Sofia deals with two themes common to many great novels: a fearful sense of existential isolation, and a corresponding need to reach out and make contact with others. According to Sofia has been published in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Translated from Norwegian by Barbara J. Haveland

I am forsaken, Sofia smiled. He forsook me. This is the first time that anyone has ever left me. It was quietly done. She thought for a moment. No, silently, she concluded. It’s lucky I can see the funny side of it. Here I am, sitting all alone under the awning in a Basque café, drinking coffee that tastes of chicory and deceit. Today I have the feeling that all is deceit.

It is October and chilly, and the other customers have retreated indoors. They sit at tables inside the warm café, wondering why I stay out here in the chill wind off the mountains. Those much-vaunted mountains. I’m feeling sorry for myself and it always shows and it’s always comical. Here I am in the Basque city of Vitoria, stirring my coffee. I know only one person here. I arrived yesterday. I arrived yesterday on the local bus from San Sebastian. I ought to have been so upset today that I wouldn’t remember the slightest thing about that bus journey. Not so.


About the Author


OYSTEIN LØNN is a central figure in contemporary Norwegian fiction, who has won several major prizes. Since his debut in 1966, he has published five collections of short stories and nine novels.


Publication date for According to Sofia: 26 March 2009

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