By Jon Fosse
Translated by Damion Searls
In her old house by the fjord, Signe lies on a bench and sees a vision of herself as she was more than twenty years earlier: standing by the window waiting for her husband Asle, on that terrible late November day when he took his rowboat out onto the water and never returned. Her memories widen out to include their whole life together, and beyond: the bonds of family and the battles with implacable nature stretching back over five generations, to Asle's great-great-grandmother Aliss. In Jon Fosse's vivid, hallucinatory prose, all these moments in time inhabit the same space, and the ghosts of the past collide with those who still live on. Aliss at the Fire is a visionary masterpiece, a haunting exploration of love and loss that ranks among the greatest meditations on marriage and human fate.
Called the new Ibsen in the German press, and heralded throughout Western Europe, Jon Fosse is one of contemporary Norwegian literature s most important writers. In 2000, his novel Melancholy won the Melsom Prize, and Fosse was awarded a lifetime stipend from the Norwegian government for his future literary efforts.
Damion Searls is a writer in English and translator from German, French, Dutch, and Norwegian. Searls has translated writers including Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke, Christa Wolf; his translation of Hans Keilson's Comedy in a Minor Keywas a New York Times Notable Book of 2010 and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in Fiction.