Maia Press, an imprint of Arcadia Books, is proud to announce
Ketil Bjørnstad’s To Music
has been long-listed for the
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
Translated from the Norwegian
by Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik
ISBN 978-1-904559-35-1, £9.99
Tone Sutterud has pointed out in The Independent, Ketil
Bjørnstad’s latest novel is ‘an enchanting tale of love and
death, desire and loss, about how parents and mentors manipulate
and ultimately fail the young people entrusted to them.’
Sixteen-year-old Aksel’s mother, drunk and angry after a row
with his father, is swept away in a swimming accident. Unable to
come to terms with her death, the family sinks into isolation
and despair. But the music that his mother loved gradually
becomes Aksel’s sanctuary and his reason for living.
A talented pianist, he dedicates himself completely to his
vocation in advance of a make-or-break competition. He and his
fellow-musicians live in a feverish atmosphere of
competitiveness, and intense and intimate isolation in which
eroticism and obsession flourish. Aksel, obsessed with the
mysterious, beautiful and talented Anja, is drawn into a
relationship he cannot control, filled with secrets and dark
Financial Times, Henry Hitchins praises ‘Bjørnstad [who]
diligently maps out a plot that’s charged with Gothic intensity,
as the creepy adults repeatedly forsake their sensitive
dependants. The main strength of the novel is its evocation of
the pathology of adolescent rivalry’.
With unsettling complexity, the
author also raises questions about the creative process itself:
is it ultimately possible to produce our most exquisite art
forms without too high a price in personal suffering?
Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik, the translators of To Music,
have both also been applauded for their translation. Paul
Binding calls their rendition ‘most sensitive’ (Times
Literary Supplement), while Tone Sutterud states that
‘[they] have done a fine job, particularly in the musical
passages’ (The Independent).
Bjørnstad, born 1952 in Oslo, is well known as a Norwegian
pianist and composer who enthusiastically embraced the emergence
of a new European Jazz. He is also an equally accomplished
writer, having published some twenty books. His novels include
The Personal Motive, The Storm and Villa Europa.
In 2001, Arcadia published
The Story of Edvard Munch,
a literary biography of the great Norwegian painter. To Music
is also the winner of the 2008 Prix des Lecteurs.
To see the
complete list of novels nominated for the prize, and read Boyd
Tonkin’s accompanying feature about this year’s diverse group,
follow this link:
by Ketil Bjørnstad is available for purchase in bookshops and
online via Amazon:
contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.