Before You Sleep was originally written in Norwegian. While it was not viewed as controversial in Norway, American reviewers have regarded Linn Ullmann‘s novel as a “detailed and sexually frank novel.” Such labels aside, Before You Sleep is a great and very interesting story of a Norwegian family, Blom, with strong and also somewhat eccentric women, that spans several generations. The story moves from Oslo to Brooklyn, both places well known to the author.
The story is complicated. It is told, over time, from the mouth of one of the key characters in the book, Karin. It is about relations inside and out of the family, about motherhood, marriage, emotions, love, and even infidelity. The book is well composed and very well written – with considerable warmth and intriguing observations.
Before You Sleep is an exceptional debut book. It is very well worth reading. Linn Ullman – the daughter of Norwegian actress Liv Ulmann and Swedish movie director Ingmar Bergman – tells her story in a way that makes the characters come alive, and make you sympathize with their strange actions and understand their emotions. A wonderful novel!
“Of this autumns literary output, novelist Linn Ullmann is the wickedest and wittiest, and because she writes with a silent sincerity and merges all this with wit, intelligence and a generous picture of human beings, the novel is a real pleasure to read.” – CECILIE WINGER,
“Before You Sleep is infernally well written. The debutante, Linn Ullmann, has, from page one, found her own form and language, consistent in style until the end.” – GT (Sweden)
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