The-Invisible-Library
2020 Longlist

The Invisible Library

Translated from Norwegian into English
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ABOUT
THE BOOK

The year is 323 BCE. King Alexander of Macedonia—Alexander the Great—lies paralyzed by poison in his palace in Babylon. He is thirty-two years old, had Aristotle as a mentor, and is the greatest military commander the world has ever seen. At the other end of the palace, Phyllis, a cook for Alexander’s army, sits locked in a room, arrested on suspicion of being the poisoner. All of her adult life she has lived in the field—and for a long period of time was Alexander’s lover.

Who has poisoned the king? Phyllis is allowed to live as long as she writes down everything she knows about Alexander. She tells a brutal story of the violent daily life in the war, about the planning of the expansion into the Arabian Peninsula, about an invisible library containing marvelous manuscripts and discoveries, and about the passion between a cook and a king.

With The Invisble Library, Thorvald Steen interweaves known and unknown, relying on facts until they run out, then building his story on what is probable, to tell the story of a little-known period in the life of one of the most renowned figures in history. The result is an existential and inspired novel that goes to the heart of the human experience—who are we in war, in love, during the final days of life?

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Thorvald
Steen

Thorvald Steen has published a wide range of novels, plays, collections of poems and short stories, children’s books and essays. His Norwegian breakthrough came in 1992 with a cycle of poems, Ilden, and shortly afterwards he achieved international recognition with his creative historical novels Don Carlos (1993), Giovanni (1995), Constantinople (1999) and Camel Clouds (2004). In 2006, he wrote the coming-of-age-novel The Weight of Snow Crystals, followed in 2008 with the freestanding sequel The Longest Leap. English translations of his novels Lionheart (2012), The Little Horse (2014) and The Invisible Library (2018) are available from Seagull Books

Thorvald Steen has published a wide range of novels, plays, collections of poems and short stories, children’s books and essays. His Norwegian breakthrough came in 1992 with a cycle of poems, Ilden, and shortly afterwards he achieved international recognition with his creative historical novels Don Carlos (1993), Giovanni (1995), Constantinople (1999) and Camel Clouds (2004). In 2006, he wrote the coming-of-age-novel The Weight of Snow Crystals, followed in 2008 with the freestanding sequel The Longest Leap. English translations of his novels Lionheart (2012), The Little Horse (2014) and The Invisible Library (2018) are available from Seagull Books

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR James
Anderson

James Anderson’s literary translations from the Norwegian include Berlin Poplars by Anne B. Ragde, Nutmeg by Kristin Valla, and several books by Jostein Gaarder. For Seagull books, he has translated Tomas Espedal’s Tramp, Against Art, Against Nature and Bergeners and Thorvald Steen’s Lionheart, The Little Horse and The Invisible Library.

James Anderson’s literary translations from the Norwegian include Berlin Poplars by Anne B. Ragde, Nutmeg by Kristin Valla, and several books by Jostein Gaarder. For Seagull books, he has translated Tomas Espedal’s Tramp, Against Art, Against Nature and Bergeners and Thorvald Steen’s Lionheart, The Little Horse and The Invisible Library.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/04/2019
Country
Norway
Original Language
Norwegian
Publisher
Seagull Books
Translator
James Anderson
Translation
Translated from Norwegian into English

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