The Other Name: Septology I-II
Translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searles
The Other Name follows the lives of two men living close to each other on the west coast of Norway. The year is coming to a close and Asle, an aging painter and widower, is reminiscing about his life. He lives alone, his only friends being his neighbor, Åsleik, a bachelor and traditional Norwegian fisherman-farmer, and Beyer, a gallerist who lives in Bjørgvin, a couple hours’ drive south of Dylgja, where he lives. There, in Bjørgvin, lives another Asle, also a painter. He and the narrator are doppelgangers—two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life.Written in hypnotic prose that shifts between the first and third person, The Other Name calls into question concrete notions around subjectivity and the self. What makes us who we are? And why do we lead one life and not another?
About the Author
Jon Fosse’s remarkably prolific career began in 1983 with his first novel, Red, Black, and since then he has published numerous novels, stories, books of poetry, children’s books, and essay collections. He began writing plays in 1993, with Someone Is Going to Come, and since the mid-nineties his plays have had unparalleled international success, being performed over a thousand times all over the world; his works have been translated into more than fifty languages .Today, Fosse is one of the most performed living playwrights, but he has continued to write novels, stories, and poetry of exceptional quality. In 2015 he received the Nordic Council Literature Prize for his work Trilogy, consisting of Wakefulness, Olav’s Dreams, and Weariness. Fosse has been awarded numerous prizes both in Norway and abroad, and in recent years he has often been mentioned as a frontrunner for the Nobel Prize in Literature. The three books that comprise his magnum opus, Septology, will be published by Transit Books, beginning with The Other Name (tr. Damion Searls) in April 2020.
Damion Searls is a translator from Norwegian, German, French, and Dutch, of classic modern writers including Rilke, Proust, Nietzsche, Bachmann, Jelinek, Hesse, and Nescio; he has translated seven books by Jon Fosse. Searls is also the author of The Inkblots, a history of the Rorschach test and biography of its creator, which has been translated into ten languages, and he has received Guggenheim, Cullman Center, and NEA fellowships, the leading British and American German-to-English translation prizes, and the German Federal Order of Merit for his writing and translating.
In true Fosse fashion this book is almost set in our world, but not quite. We follow two artists with the same name, one is successful, and one is drinking himself to death. There is no real timeline, and time and space doesn’t seem to follow the normal set of rules. It’s fascinating and beautiful and annoying and completely unique. We can’t wait for the nest five parts of this brick. Sølvberget Library and Culture Center, Norway