A few Norwegian reading recommendations for 17th of May


It is the 17th of May, Syttende Mai, and Norway is celebrating its National Day. As a Swedish immigrant to Norway I find it all somewhat bewildering. Nevertheless I thought I’d do my part here on the blog by highlighting two of my favourite Norwegian authors, Henrik Ibsen and Anne B. Ragde. One classic dramatist and one modern novelist, something for everyone…

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Henrik Ibsen is a classic dramatist and probably the best known Norwegian author. He was a very influential early modernists and his plays remain widely played today. He wrote realistic plays that still feels modern, although they are much less scandalous now. His best known play, A Doll’s House, is also my favourite and is freely available in an English translation at Project Gutenberg.

Anne B. Ragde (1957 – )

I have mentioned Anne B. Ragde before on this blog but her name is worth repeating. Her writing is sharp, her characters and her plots interesting. I particularly admire her ability to write stories that balance humour and darkness but never feel shallow. I also appreciate the warmth she brings to her characters which often makes me sympathize with the most unlikely characters. Unfortunately I believe only one of her novels, Berlin Poplars, is available in English but that one I can really recommend.

Gratulerer med dagen Norge!


2 thoughts on “A few Norwegian reading recommendations for 17th of May

  1. I supposedly studied Ibsen at school — Peer Gynt of course, but also The Pillars of the Community — of which I remember virtually nothing. I supplied incidental piano music (rather like that once played for silent films) for a production of Peer Gynt at the school I used to teach at; some of it I improvised, but I also played music such as obscure stuff by Satie to provide atmosphere. I’m certain you gave a positive review of Anne B Ragde’s Berlin Poplars, so that title’s certainly on my radar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually haven’t read Peer Gynt yet, I’ve started it but reading verse in Norwegian slows me down too much.

      I’ve added it to my Classics Club list though and plan to get to it eventually. Until then I’ll stick to Grieg’s music instead. I’m grateful that most of Ibsen’s plays are not in verse.


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