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752 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published October 2022
ISBN 9781922725363


Jon Fosse

Translated by Damion Searls

Winner of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature

SHORTLISTED: International Booker Prize 2022
SHORTLISTED: National Book Awards, Translated Literature 2022

The celebrated Norwegian novelist’s magnum opus, shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, published in one volume for the first time.

What makes us who we are? And why do we lead one life and not another? Asle, an ageing painter and widower who lives alone on the southwest coast of Norway, is reminiscing about his life. His only friends are his neighbour, Åsleik, a traditional fisherman-farmer, and Beyer, a gallerist who lives in the city. There, in Bjørgvin, lives another Asle, also a painter but lonely and consumed by alcohol. Asle and Asle are doppelgängers – two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life, both grappling with existential questions about death, love, light and shadow, faith and hopelessness. Jon Fosse’s Septology is a transcendent exploration of the human condition, and a radically other reading experience – incantatory, hypnotic and utterly unique.

Jon Fosse is a major European writer.
Karl Ove Knausgaard

The Beckett of the twenty-first century.
Le Monde

An extraordinary seven-novel sequence about an old man’s recursive reckoning with the braided realities of God, art, identity, family life and human life itself…the culminating project of an already major career.
New York Times

A major work of Scandinavian fiction …Fosse has written a strange mystical moebius strip of a novel, in which an artist struggles with faith and loneliness, and watches himself, or versions of himself, fall away into the lower depths.
Hari Kunzru

I hesitate to compare the experience of reading these works to the act of meditation. But that is the closest I can come to describing how something in the critical self is shed in the process of reading Fosse, only to be replaced by something more primal. A mood. An atmosphere. The sound of words moving on a page.
Ruth Margalit

A literary experiment that invites comparison to the modernists of a century ago, poetic and charged with meaning.
Kirkus Reviews

Nimbly and hauntingly translated by Damion Searls…this darkly ecstatic Norwegian story of art and God is relentlessly consuming…already Septology feels momentous.
The Guardian

[Septology] imbues the very enigma of life, which can seem at times so terrifyingly dark, with a light that is almost beatific.
Financial Times

[Septology] is a mesmerising novel about one man’s encounter with another version of himself. A daring and original examination of what it means to live, Fosse’s prose comes at you like gentle waves, but the impression it leaves is profound.
Dianne Stubbings, The Australian

A book so transcendent that not only is it my best book of the year 2022, it ties 2666 by Roberto Bolaño as my favourite book from the 21st century…It is ambitious. It is sui generis. It’s a book that suddenly expanded my understanding of what fiction can do.
Lauren Groff

A masterpiece…the text not only evokes a world but itself constitutes one…Septology may not bring you closer to God, but you’ll want to keep dwelling in the tranquil shelter Fosse has built, gratefully stupefied by the fortuitous beauty of the commingling paint.
Lola Seaton

About the Author & Translator

Jon Fosse

Jon Fosse is the recipient of countless prestigious prizes, both in his native Norway and abroad, including the Nobel Prize in Literature. Since his 1983 fiction debut, Fosse has written prose, poetry, essays, short stories, children’s books, and over forty plays, with more than a thousand productions performed and translations into fifty languages.

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Damion Searls

Damion Searls has translated several books and a libretto by Jon Fosse, as well as books by many other classic modern writers, including Proust, Rilke, Nietzsche, Walser, Bachmann, Jelinek, Modiano, and Uwe Johnson. His own books include What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going, The Inkblots and The Philosophy of Translation. Searls’s translation of A New Name by Jon Fosse was a finalist for the 2022 International Booker Prize.

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Jon Fosse reads from ‘A New Name: Septology VI-VII’

Jon Fosse: 'Writing like praying'