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Lars Saabye Christensen

Lars Saabye Christensen

Norwegian author

Lars Saabye Christensen is a Danish-Norwegian author. He has written novels, poetry, and children's books.

Background

Lars Saabye Christensen was born on September 21, 1953, in Oslo, Norway.

Education

Lars Saabye Christensen attended Berg Upper Secondary School. He studied literature, Norwegian, art history, and history of ideas at university.

Career

Norwegian novelist, poet, and scriptwriter Lars Saabye Christensen was already in print by the time his first work Historien om Gly was released in 1976. Before that collection of verse, he had published in the underground periodical Dikt og datt. His first full-length novel, Amatpren, appeared in 1977. Five years later, in 1984, Christensen received much acclaim from his compatriots for Beatles, which developed a cult following, and three years later won the coveted Riverton Prize for the novel Sneglene. Since that time Saabye Christensen has gone on to capture many of Norway’s top literary prizes, and his bestselling novel Halvbroren, which in translation as The Half Brother introduced him to English-speaking audiences on a wide scale, captured the coveted Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2002.

In 1981's Jokeren Saabye Christensen spins a detective yam about a bank robber on the lam from the law who, while in hiding, reads a mysterious obituary with his name on it. Throughout the rest of the novel the criminal attempts to unravel the significance behind the mistaken obit.

Saabye Christensen’s novels are often set in and around Oslo, the city of his birth and upbringing. The second of the author’s novels to be translated into English, Herman concerns the troubled life of little Herman Fulkt, who is afflicted with alopecia areata, a disease-causing the sufferer to go bald. Because he stands out at school due to the precocious baldness, Herman is taunted by bullies and regarded with suspicion by teachers. To vent his frustrations with himself and the world, Herman takes to acts of violence and vandalism. The main character's bald grandfather, to whom the little boy most relates, passes away and Herman is forced to grow up and confront the world with a newfound strength.

Halvbroren focuses on freelance film writer Barnum Nilsen and his relationship with his family: his former circus-performer father Arnold, his mother Vera, his grandmother Bolleta, and particularly his autistic older brother Fred, who was conceived during a rape. Barnum relates his life story as a series of impressions, recollections, asides, as memories are triggered by things around him and tied together by the presence of his brother and by the unknowable depths of those who touch his life. An alcoholic, Barnum has learned to deal with his life by resorting to lies and fictions to mask reality.

Saabye Christensen has not confined himself to novels and poetry but has also written for film. In 1985 he authored the screenplay Brennende blomster, as well as screen adaptations of his angst-ridden opus Herman. The 1994 Vanguard Films release of Saabye Christensen’s Ti kniver i jhertet, directed by Marius Holst and featuring the actors Martin Dahl Garfalk, Jan Devo Komstad, Kjersti Holmen, and Petter J Borgli, won several awards, including the Berlin Film Festival’s Blue Angel Award and top honors from the Montreal and Chicago film festivals. The screenplay was loosely based on his novel Gutten som ville vcere en av gutta.

His latest works include Sluk (2012), Stedsans (2013), Magnet (2015), Byens spor (2017), Byens spor: Maj (2018), Byens spor: Skyggeboken (2019).

Achievements

Lars Saabye Christensen is Norway's leading contemporary writer. His great breakthrough came with the novel Beatles in 1984. The book store sale of over 200,000 copies of the Norwegian edition has made this one of the greatest commercial successes in Norway, and it was voted the best novel of the last 25 years by Dagbladet's readers in 2006.

His international best-selling novel The Half Brother has been published in nearly 30 countries. Christensen’s books have been translated into over a dozen languages, including German, English, Polish, and Spanish.

Works

The Joker The Joker

Beatles Beatles

Herman Herman

Vesteralen: Light, Life, Landscape Vesteralen: Light, Life, Landscape

The Other Side of Blue: Pictures and Poems from Lofoten and Vesteralen The Other Side of Blue: Pictures and Poems from Lofoten and Vesteralen

The Half Brother: A Novel The Half Brother: A Novel

The Model The Model

Der Sommer, in dem meine Mutter zum Mond fliegen wollte: Roman Der Sommer, in dem meine Mutter zum Mond fliegen wollte: Roman

Echoes of the City Echoes of the City

Book

The Half Brother: A Novel (Traces four generations of a family marked by the untimel...) 2001

Echoes of the City (Christensen is one of Scandinavia's finest and most celeb...) 2017

Beatles (Four young Norwegians ride the first wave of Beatlemania ...) 1984

The Model (The Painter Peter Wihl - a celebrated success early in hi...) 2005

All works

Views

Lars Saabye Christensen counts Knut Hamsun, John Lennon, Marcel Proust, Graham Greene, Hans Christian Andersen, Joseph Conrad, Sigbjorn Obstfelder, and Tom Waits as major influences.

Membership

Lars Saabye Christensen is a member of the Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature.

Interests

Writers

Knut Hamsun, John Lennon, Marcel Proust, Graham Greene, Hans Christian Andersen, Joseph Conrad, Sigbjorn Obstfelder, Tom Waits

Connections

Lars Saabye Christensen is married to Karna Irene Gjelle.

Timeline

September 21, 1953
Lars Saabye Christensen was born in Oslo.

Patents

Further Resources

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References

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