TRAVEL & GEOGRAPHY

The Story of a Marriage

Hogarth: Crown. Jul. 2018. 160p. tr. from Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin. ISBN 9781524759674. $23; ebk. ISBN 9781524759698. LITERARY
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In this U.S. debut from the Nordic Prize-nominated Gulliksen, Jon painfully resurrects the past, trying to grasp what he lost when his wife left him for another man; he concedes that they're no longer the people they were as a married couple. Jon was already married when he met decisive powerhouse Timmy, a young doctor to whom he took his sick daughter; he abandoned his first wife just as he's now been abandoned and has been working as a freelance journalist (and family caretaker) while Timmy pursues a high-level job in social services. Jon (and, by extension, Gulliksen) is less interested in the why of the marital breakup than the how, detailing the couple's intimacy and descent into betrayal in increasingly drilled-down scenes that can feel like the real-time collapse of a relationship.
VERDICT Not for the plot-hungry, this deeply interior meditation will reward serious-minded readers.

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