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The Other Name: Septology I-II Reviews

The Other Name: Septology I-II by Jon Fosse, Damion Searls

The Other Name: Septology I-II

Jon Fosse, Damion Searls

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Publication date: 10 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781910695913

THE OTHER NAME: SEPTOLOGY I-II, a major new work by Jon Fosse, one of Europe's most celebrated writers, follows the lives of Asle and Asle - two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life, both grappling with existential questions about life, death, love, light and shadow, faith and hopelessness.

4 stars out of 5
4 Jan 2020

"It all has a distinctly Beckettian flavour"

The plot is as light as can be, starting with Asle going and rescuing the other Asle as he descends toward alcoholic incapacity and taking him to a clinic to dry out, then looking after his dog. But as Fosse has said, “You don’t read my books for the plots. But it’s not because I want to be a difficult writer. I’ve never tried to write in a complicated way. I always try to write as simply and, I hope, as deeply as I possibly can.” This is borne out by what Fosse terms his “slow prose” – where elegant variation is eschewed in favour of hypnotic repetition. The Other Name is not difficult to read because the repetition and the endless commas give it the hypnotic feeling of a mantra. 

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Catherine Taylor
9 Nov 2019

"The beginning of a septet, this darkly ecstatic Norwegian story of art and God is relentlessly consuming"

In 2018 Fitzcarraldo published his short-story collection Scenes from a Childhood. This proved to be a taster for a more ambitious project: the Septology series, of which The Other Name is the first instalment, is billed as a three-volume septet, featuring not a single full stop throughout. Such is his command of the rhythm of his prose, nimbly and hauntingly translated by Damion Searls, that the omission is barely noticeable, and after a while, engagingly welcome. The work simply loops and flows. The style is formal, yet with a sense of restlessness. As for plot, there is plenty.